The Federal Bar Association held its annual Immigration Law Section Conference May 14-16, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee. This is one of my favorite continuing legal education events. The program is always packed with amazing panels on cutting edge immigration law topics and the faculty is always phenomenal. The conference is small enough that I get to actually see colleagues from all over the country, and the sessions often have meaningful and productive input from the audience.
In 2014, I was the Plenary Speaker for the same conference and spoke about immigration after U.S. v. Windsor. I had no idea that marriage equality would come so far in just a year.
This year I was on two panels. The first was an early morning advanced session on immigration compliance and workplace enforcement for employers. We discussed recent developments in I-9 compliance including the Employer Solutions Staffing, OCAHO Case which emphasizes the need of employers to examine in person originals of the provided documents to properly execute section two of the I-9. We examined the rise in I-9 audits and government agent drop-ins on H-2B employers as well as the rise in trafficking concerns and civil litigation for such employers. Lawyers across the country acknowledged that there seems to be more cooperation and referral of issues between government agencies (such as DHS cooperating with DOL or state workforce agencies). The next day, I participated in an awesome panel of hot topics in working with unaccompanied alien children. We discussed not only special immigrant juvenile status and juvenile asylum claims but also the non-legal challenges of working with children who have survived trauma. My co-panelists included a lawyer from DHS and an amazing practitioner from Public Counsel in Los Angeles, Joseph Weiner. It was a room packed with people working to make a difference, and I was proud to be there. I can’t wait for next year. Who knows what changes we could see between now and then?
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