EB5 Investors Magazine Volume 5, Issue 2 - Page 147

A nnaluisa Padilla, an immigration lawyer from La Habra in California, has been elected as the president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for the 2017-2018 term. She knows immigration first hand. She came to the United States from Guatemala with her parents in 1983. After getting her undergraduate degree from UCLA, she earned her law degree from Whittier Law School in 1997 and then started her own practice in 2002. Her practice is focused on humanitarian relief including asylum, VAWA and representing unaccompanied minors. “Being AILA’s president is a great accomplishment in my life’s journey as an immigrant to the United States,” Padilla said. “At the same time, it carries the responsibility to work tirelessly through advocacy and other efforts, leading our members in all of our work to ensure that the important principles of due process and fairness are reflected in all our immigration policies and laws.” WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND? I graduated from Whittier Law School in 1997. My undergraduate studies took place at UCLA, where I majored in German. After graduating from UCLA and prior to starting my career as an attorney, I worked in the entertainment industry for 12 years. I spent nine years at Warner Bros and three years at Sony Pictures Entertainment overseeing the international localization of U.S. films for foreign distribution. This involved negotiating with companies in charge of translating film dialogue, hiring of voice-over actors, directors and subtitling companies to localize films and repackage them in various languages around the world. I traveled to Europe and Latin America to oversee these operations and negotiated with companies for their respective services. In 2002, I left the industry to start my law firm focusing on immigration and family law. Some of my first clients were companies seeking to hire foreign nationals under H and L visas. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE IN YOUR NEW ROLE AS PRESIDENT OF AILA? The immigration landscape has changed over the past several years with anti-immigrant sentiment intensifying as a result of myths and untruths that have been spread about immigrants. One of my priorities as AILA president is to help dispel the myths about immigration and immigrants in general, reiterating the fact that immigration builds stronger communities and is vital to our economy, and our ability to remain a competitive player in the global market. In addition, I hope to see AILA solidify its place as the preeminent bar association of immigration attorneys and the go-to for experts in our field. HOW MANY MEMBERS DOES AILA HAVE AND WHAT IS THE MISSION OF THE ORGANIZATION? We have more than 15,000 members nationwide and around the globe. Our mission is 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 our members. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS AILA’S PRIORITIES IN THE COMING YEAR? The Trump administration has been laser focused on immigration since the inauguration, so one of our priorities this year is to ensure our members have the necessary information and tools to respond to new policies and the agencies’ arbitrary and capricious demands during the adjudication process. We are also ensuring our members have the skills and expertise to challenge erroneous and unjustifiable adjudications through the federal court system. In addition, we must challenge the pervasive false rhetoric about immigration and refocus the conversation. EB5INVESTORS.COM 146