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En la Frontera: AILA Texas Chapter Spring Conference

March 31, 2022 - April 2, 2022

$125.00 – $350.00
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Spring Conference 2022 in El Paso, Texas

A dual-track advanced immigration conference with expert panels in the areas of family, removal defense, and business immigration law, with panels focusing on current issues facing the US/Mexico border.

Important: Due to a recent surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the Executive Committee has decided to offer a virtual attendance option as an alternative to the in-person conference. So that the Executive Committee will have time organize this change, the Spring Conference will now be held March 31 – April 2. Virtual tickets are available at a lower price than the standard in-person rates.

Please scroll down for a complete conference program. Tickets are available for purchase at the bottom of the page.

For in-person attendees, hotel rooms are available at a discount at the El Paso Hilton Downtown. To make arrangements, please call 1-800-222-8733 and provide the group code TSC to obtain a hotel reservation. You can also make your reservation online HERE.


Thursday, March 31st

6:00pm — 7:30pm Reunion Plática & Happy Hour at Hotel
Government AILA liaisons in attendance will participate in round table update.

Friday, April 1st

7:15am – 5:00pm Registration & Exhibits
7:30am – 8:30am Continental Breakfast
7:50am – 8:00am Welcome by Rebecca Kitson, Chapter Chair
8:00am – 9:00am Business Track: H1B Registration (1 hour)
Panel of Experts will review the H1B registration and selection process and provide an update on how to prepare H1B petitions to help avoid RFE’s related to specialty occupation and wage levels.Faculty: Melissa Salvador, Maggie Murphy, and Sharadha Kodem
  Advanced Family & Litigation Track: Bond/Detention and Immigration Court Panel (1 hour)
Panel will review ability to get a potential bond for clients with criminal history, including challenging removability, and navigating issues concerning the OPLA attorneys and immigration judges. The panel will also discuss the latest hot topics when litigating removal cases.Faculty: Guillermo Hernandez and Jessica Miles
9:00am – 10:00am Business Track: Hot Topics in Business Immigration (1 hour)
Panelists will discuss the most current issues affecting business immigration including updates from USCIS, DOL and DOS.Faculty: Kathleen Walker Campbell, Christine Traversi, and Beatriz T. Ballerini
  Advanced Family & Litigation Track: Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing (1 hour)
Panelists will discuss hot topics in adjustment of status and consular processing cases including:
• Covid updates at consular posts
• Inadmissibility issues at the consulate
• Public charge under Biden
• Delays, significant form changes, and legal updates at USCISFaculty: Jason Mills and Marisol Perez
10:00am – 11:00am Business Track: Advanced L-1 and TN Strategies
With an RFE rate of over 60% on L visas, our panel of experts will provide advanced strategies and help you troubleshoot difficult issues on L1B, L1A and blanket L’s and TNs.Faculty: Adam Smith and Sang Shin
  Advanced Family & Litigation Track: Waiver Updates (1 hour, including .5 hours of ethics)
Faculty will discuss procedural and legal updates for waivers of inadmissibility (I-601, I-601A, I-212) in the consular processing, adjustment of status, and removal proceedings contexts. This will include a discussion of ethical obligations when advising clients on eligibility/ineligibility for waivers.Faculty: Rebecca Kitson, Annie Schwartz, and Rosemary Vega
11:00am – 11:10am Networking Break
11:10am – 12:10pm Business Track/Advanced Family: Visa Retrogression and Strategies for Protecting Status and Max-Out Issues (1 hour)
Panelists will review strategies regarding Max-Out issues (NIW, recapture, H-1Bs), CSPA for children turning 21 in the family and employment based immigration context, including understanding cross-chargeability, visa bulletin predictions and handling EB-3 upgrades.Faculty: Myron Morales, Maria Pia Prebisch, and Kristina Hernandez
Advanced Family & Litigation: Citizenship Panel (1 hour)
Panelists will discuss the latest updates regarding good moral character issues, including a discussion on best practices and tips when applying for naturalization. The panel will also focus on preserving evidence for Federal Litigation should that be necessary and also explain denaturalization process and other litigation matters.Faculty: Olsa Alikaj-Cano, Lance Curtright, and Magali Suarez Chandler
12:30pm – 2:00pm Luncheon and Chapter Business Meeting
2:00pm – 3:00pm Combined Business and Litigation Track: Consular Official Updates from Ciudad Juarez (CDJ) (1 hour)
NIV and IV consular officials from CDJ will participate in government panel to provide updates from the post and offer practical guidance to lawyers who send applicants to CDJ.
3:00pm – 4:00pm Business Track: PERM (1 hour, including .5 hours of ethics)
Panel will review how to address issues related to determining minimum requirements, recent AAO decision, and how to reconcile differences in H1B filings with PERM including how to harmonize tricky SOC codes and the future of recruitment requirements in light of Facebook decision.Faculty: Ann Badmus and Dahlia French
Advanced Family & Litigation Track: ICE Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) Panel (1 hour)
Chief Counsel from OPLA Dallas and OPLA El Paso will provide guidance on the implementation of immigration enforcement priorities.Chief Counsel Paul Hunker and Chief Counsel Elias Gastelo
4:00pm – 5:00pm Business Track: Foreign National Entrepreneurs (1 hour)
Foreign National entrepreneurs have always formed an integral part of the US economy. In times of economic downturn in the world, the US is still seen by many as a viable option to move from their home countries to start, transfer, or develop a new enterprise. This panel will review the different NIV and IV options for foreign national entrepreneurs and investors, including an update on EB-5 processing.Faculty: Susanna Visconti, Ramon Curiel, and Cristian Triantaphyllis
Advanced Family & Litigation Track: The El Paso Border and other Issues on the Frontera (1 hour)
What is going on El La Frontera?!
Local legal service providers from El Paso will give an update on the latest legal issues on the El Paso border. Local attorneys will also be joined by Jodi Goodwin who will give an update on border issues including asylum and MPP at the southern border of Texas.Faculty: Iliana Holguin (moderator), Melissa Lopez (Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services, Inc), Nicolas Palazzo (Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center), and Jodi Goodwin
5:30pm — 7:00pm AILA Charla & Happy Hour at Hotel
Texas AILA will recognize the work of El Paso non-profit organizations.

Saturday, April 2nd

7:30am – 8:30am Continental Breakfast
8:00am – 9:00am Business Track: Documenting I-140 Ability-to-Pay When Times Are Hard (1 hour)
Many small to medium enterprise’s profitability and bottom lines have been severely impacted due to the global pandemic. However, profitability isn’t the sole measure of demonstrating an employer’s ability to pay for I-140 purposes. In this panel, the expert faculty will explore how to identify and document standard and alternative indicators of financial viability and ability to pay the proffered wage, along with tips on preparing a strong petition.Faculty: Katie Karam, Benjamin Hamilton, and Krystal Alanis
Advanced Family & Litigation Track: Asylum Updates - Staying On Top of Critical Developments (1 hour)
The panel will address recent developments of interest to asylum practitioners, helping you stay on top of emerging issues at the border, at the asylum office and in immigration court.Faculty: Brian Manning and Aimee Maldonado
9:00am – 10:00am Business Track: Nuts and Bolts of Filing in Federal Court for Business Immigration Attorneys
Topics will include choice of venue, mandamus for delayed processing, and APA for arbitrary and capricious claims.Faculty: Jesse Bless and Steven Brown
Advanced Family & Litigation Track: Crimmigration Update
This Panel will provide the latest updates on most recent decisions in Federal Court litigation. Speakers will also provide strategies on how to properly use Pre-Trial Diversion after Matter of Mohamed, including a review of how to clean an Indictment and Structure a Plea to help clients.Faculty: Javier N. Maldonado
10:00am – 10:30am Combined Business & Litigation Track: Leveraging US immigration resources to assist Ukrainian Refugees
This panel will address many of the concerns, issues and challenges faced by practitioners in responding to the sudden need to find immigration solutions for Ukrainian nationals fleeing war in their home country. This panel will review emerging trends, best practices and the latest news regarding consular posts. Topics will include:
• Ukrainians with visitor visas: to use or not to use?
• How to apply for refugee status abroad
• What are viable asylum claims for Ukrainians?
• Humanitarian parole
• Ukrainians applying along the Southern border
• Consular post updates and NIV options
• TPS for UkrainiansFaculty: Olsa Alikaj-Cano and Faye M. Kolly
10:30am – 11:30am Combined Business & Litigation Track: Immigration Hot Topics and Ethical Considerations for a Practicing Attorney (1 hour ethics)
• Changes in BIA Structure and Processes
• IV and NIV processing
• International Travel updatesFaculty: Michelle Saenz-Rodriguez, Irene Mugambi, and Jacqueline Watson
11:30am – 12:30pm Combined Business & Litigation Track: Law Practice Management in Challenging Times (1 hour, including .5 hours of ethics)
Tips and strategies for a successful and well-balanced business.Faculty: Nicolas Chavez and Ruby Powers
12:30pm Conference Adjourns


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March 31, 2022
April 2, 2022
$125.00 – $350.00
Event Category:


Doubletree by Hilton El Paso Downtown/City Center
600 El Paso St
El Paso, TX 79901 United States
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(915) 532-8733