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Cory Caouette for AILA Director

It is with great pride that I have accepted the nomination of the AILA Nominating Committee to continue to serve on the Associationís Board of Governors. Now, with equal humility, I ask the membership to join the many past and present leaders of AILA who support my candidacy, including Atlanta's own Charles Kuck, and vote to return me to the Board to keep AILA and our profession moving forward.

As part of the nomination process, candidates for the Board are asked to identify those issues which present the greatest challenges in the coming years. While my answers are in part colored by my service this past year as Chair of the AILA New Members Division, they also have developed as a result of listening to and learning from the diverse perspectives of not only the AILA leadership but its members as a whole.

It goes without saying that the largest challenge facing our organization is the continued need to reform our immigration laws and the broken system it has created. While the abhorrent law in Arizona has helped to focus our membership on the need for reform at the earliest opportunity, we all expect AILA leadership to continue to work towards the best possible legislation and not rashly accept the first proposal to cross our paths. Having worked on Capitol Hill in a legislative capacity, both as a staffer and a lobbyist, I believe I am uniquely qualified to work with the Board and AILA Advocacy Director Greg Chen on getting a reform package that we want and need through the arduous legislative process.

Beyond reform, another challenge facing the organization is the retention of members in uncertain economic times. As Chair of the New Members Division, representing fully 40% of its membership, it became apparent that the Associationís newest members are also its most vulnerable. Despite the fact that many of these members are in survival mode when it comes to their practices, they have historically paid the same membership fees as veteran members, meaning that losing these newer practitioners poses a serious financial threat to AILAís balance sheet. Thatís why I made it my primary goal to retain AILAís new members and am happy to report that through increased CLE availability, expanded mentoring opportunities, and the use of technology to make AILA education programs more accessible than ever, the Associationís membership levels have held steady. If I am elected to return to the Board, I will continue to work to reach out to our newer members to ensure that an AILA membership is an essential component of their practice.

Finally, it has become increasingly apparent that the unauthorized practice of law is an issue that our profession must deal with and deal with promptly and decisively. We have seen some success in identifying lawmakers, members of law enforcement, and judges who agree with the urgent nature of this problem and can be pleased to report that strides are being made to rid immigration law of those who see it as an opportunity rather than a profession. However, just as enforcement only is not a solution to unlawful immigration, it also isnít a solution to the proliferation of notarios. It is with that in mind that I continue to lead efforts on both the national and local level to reach out to immigrant communities, through education and the provision of low or no cost services, in order to cut the demand for the services of notarios all the while we work to eliminate the supply.

Thank you for your support and for the continued opportunity to serve.

Cory C. Caouette, Esq.
Senior Immigration Counsel