About AILA

Founded in 1946, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, voluntary bar association that provides continuing legal education, professional services, information, and expertise to more than 16,000 attorneys who practice and teach immigration law.

AILA, originally called the Association of Immigration and Nationality Lawyers, was founded by a group of 19 immigration lawyers and professionals in Manhattan. Twelve of the founders had recently worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and recognized a need for a bar association devoted to representing immigrants in the United States.

The association’s certificate of incorporation was filed in New York on November 22, 1946, and Josh Koenigsberg became the organization’s first president. Gaspare Cusumano served as vice president, Anita Streep as secretary, and Daniel Caputi as treasurer.

AILA’s founders were deeply concerned with promoting the just administration and reform of immigration law in the United States. They also sought to elevate the professional standing and reputation of immigration practitioners appearing before the Immigration Service, as well as to enhance the spirit of community among immigration law practitioners.

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