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American Immigration Lawyers Association

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is a professional organization of more than 10,000 immigration attorneys and legal professors. Its members represent a variety of immigrants, including asylum seekers, entertainment personalities, families that wish to bring relatives to the United States and companies wanting to sponsor foreign workers’ entry to the United States.

Founded in 1946, the AILA is an “affiliated organization” of the American Bar Association. But while both organizations say they are nonpartisan, the AILA does advocate in favor of immigrant rights. The group was specifically established “to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members,” its website says, and it clearly sees its goals as being most aligned with those of liberal Democrats. In its 2009 action plan, AILA said: “A bi-partisan coalition will still be needed to pass major immigration reform – the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate will require 6-10 Republican votes, and the House majority will not enact immigration reform without the political ‘cover’ of at least 30-60 Republican votes.”

However, the AILA can be a valuable resource for visitors as well as its members. Its website features a page of Web resources. The site also hosts an immigration lawyer search function and offers viewers a database, albeit a limited one, of court cases and decisions relevant to U.S. immigration.

Comments: The AILA is a good source of information on immigration law; however, it, like most immigration organizations, is not unbiased. It is worth noting that the organization’s 2007 annual report reads: “No matter which party controls Congress, the potential for real, substantive immigration reform is limited by internal Republican party divisions, and by the ‘rush to the center’ of most Democrats.”

Political Leanings: Pro-immigrant rights