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AILA South Florida

Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 8:00 AM - Friday, February 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM (EST)


Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
AILA Member   more info Feb 24, 2020 $555.00 $0.00
Non-AILA Member Feb 24, 2020 $595.00 $0.00
Electronic Materials Only Feb 28, 2020 $100.00 $0.00


Event Details


February 27 & 28, 2020

Join the AILA South Florida Chapter in sunny Miami Beach for our annual immigration law conference.



FLORIDA, NEW YORK, & TEXAS CLE Credit (Applied For)




5:30 P.M. – 8:00 P.M.
CONFERENCE KICK-OFF HAPPY HOUR, presented by the AILA South Florida LGBTQ+ Committee
Please join the AILA South Florida LGBTQ+ Committee for a lively Happy Hour at the Miami Yacht Club, to kick off the 41st Annual AILA South Florida Immigration Law Update! The LGBTQ+ Committee is thrilled to be supported this year by allies, the CLE Committee and the Wellness Committee – who will be leading a beach-front, sunset meditation. Good times, drinks, meditation, and interesting discussions…the perfect way to start a Wednesday night in Miami and to kick off the annual AILA South Florida Conference! This is a Safe Zone event open to all AILA members, CLE attendees, CLE Sponsors and Exhibitors. The LGBTQ+ Committee thanks you for your support!

Location: The Miami Yacht Club, 1001 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, Florida 33132 (Next door to the conference venue).
Attire: This is an outdoor waterfront venue. Resort casual attire is encouraged.
Don’t Miss the Optional Sunset Beachside Meditation:
Led by Maggie Arias, AILA South Florida CLE Chair 6:15 pm (10 min)






7:30 A.M. - 8:00 A.M.

Registration and Continental Breakfast


8:00 A.M. - 8:15 A.M.

Opening Remarks: Don’tBack Down (Bloom Ballroom)

Speaker:          Christine J. Alden, President, AILA South Florida


8:15 A.M. - 9:05 A.M.

Plenary Session: Come Together – Hot topics (Bloom Ballroom)


Discussion Leader:     Marketa Lindt, AILA (National) President

Panelists:                     Christine J. Alden

                                    Greg Chen, Director of Government Relations, AILA (National)

Kari Fonte, Chair of AILA (National) USCIS Field Operations Liaison Committee

Sui Chung, Chair of AILA (National) ICE Liaison Committee

Alexis Axelrad, Chair of AILA (National) CBP Liaison Committee


9:05 A.M. - 9:15 A.M.

Coffee Break


9:15 A.M. – 10:30 A.M.

Border Song - Consular Processing and State Department Panel(Bloom Ballroom)


  • Immigrant visa processing
  • Employment based issues
  • Family based issues
  • Special considerations for TPS/DACA holders
  • Visa Bulletin updates and predictions
  • Strategies for delayed processing times/visa bulletin retrogression
  • Revocation” Visa revocation by DOS and returning petitions for CIS for revocation
  • Travel ban waivers/exceptions


Discussion Leader:       Sandra Sheridan Reguerin, Vice-Chair of AILA (National) DOS Liaison Committee

Panelists:                     Charles Oppenheim, US Department of State, Chief of the Visa Control and Reporting Division

Mary Kramer, AILA Author, Immigration Consequences of Criminal Activity

Reza Rahbaran


10:30 A.M. - 10:35 A.M.

Coffee Break


10:35 A.M. - 11:25 A.M.

Simply the Best – The Extraordinary, Exceptional and in the National Interest (Bloom Ballroom)


  • Who is Really Extraordinary or Exceptional?
  • Who is the Petitioner?
  • Consultation and Screening the Applicant
  • How to Prepare a Case and Best Practices
  • Supporting Evidence


Discussion Leader:     Allen Orr AILA (National) First Vice-President*

Panelists:                     Gerard Chapman

                                    Cameron Chong

                                    Francisco “Frank” Symphorien-Saavedra   

                                    Olivia Minnis


10:35 A.M. – 11:25 A.M.

Control – The Assertive FOIA Practice (and other ways to get to know your client) (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


  • Practical round up of background checks, how and why to utilize them
  • (FBI, FCIC, OBIM, FOIA targets, also pre-sentence reports, prosecutorial close-out memos)
  • FOIA as primary basis for federal suit
  • FOIA as collateral component of federal suit


Discussion Leader:     Matt Hoppocks

Panelists:                     Mark Prada

Emily Creighton, Directing Attorney for Transparency, American Immigration Council

                                    Alejandra Friz-Garcia


11:25 A.M. - 11:35 A.M.

Coffee Break


11:35 A.M. 12:25 P.M.

Don’t Stop Me Now – Solutions for Entrepreneurs (Bloom Ballroom)


  • Status of entrepreneurial parole rule
  • E to EB5
  • Alternative citizenship through a third country
  • Challenges with L new offices and is the L the only option?
  • EB1, Multinational Executive or Manager when in E status
  • Self-Petitioning options via Regional Center EB5, National Interest Waiver or Extraordinary Ability


Discussion Leader:     Edward Beshara

Panelists:                     Amy Link

                                    Scott Bettridge

                                    Jacqueline Villalba, AILA South Florida, CLE Vice-Chair


11:35 A.M. 12:25 P.M

Eye of the Tiger – Remember the Others (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


  • TPS, TPS review, state of TPS in the courts
  • Employment based solutions for TPS and DACA holders
  • U-visas
    • Backlogs and perfecting Sanchez-Sosa claims
    • IJ review of discretionary denials
    • VAWA review


Discussion Leader:     Juan Carlos Gomez

Panelists:                     Michelle Canero

                                    Randy McGrorty

                                    Karla Lammers

Patricia Hernandez                           


12:25 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.

Lunch (included in registration fee)


            Lunch Program (Bloom Ballroom)

            (12:30 P.M. – 1:10 P.M.)


  • Platinum Sponsor Spotlight: Marco Scanu, Visa Business Plans (12:35 P.M. to 12:40 P.M.) 
  • Ira Kurzban, Immigrants’ List Presentation (12:40 P.M. to 1:10 P.M.)
  • Regulate - Supreme Court, Circuit Court and Agency Cases of Significance

(1:10 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.)


An annual highlight, the distinguished panel summarizes cases that shaped immigration practice during the prior year.


Discussion Leader:     Russell Abrutyn, Chair of AILA (National) Amicus Curiae Committee

Panelists:                     Ira Kurzban, AILA Author, Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook

Greg Chen


2:00 P.M. - 2:10 P.M.

Coffee Break


2:10 P.M. - 3:25 P.M.

You Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee – Advanced Asylum I and II (Bloom Ballroom)


  • Particular Social Groups
  • Current Administration Disruptions and Resistance in Court
  • Port of entry
  • Safe third country
  • Special Challenges
  • Persecutor bar
  • Terrorism bars, including material support
  • CARRP 2020 and delays
  • Wagafe case summary and challenge


Discussion Leader:     Hiroko Kusuda

Panelists:                     Kristie-Anne Padron

Elizabeth Blandon

Deborah Anker

Adonia Simpson


2:10 P.M. – 3:00 P.M.

She Works Hard for the Money – Advanced Issues in Labor Certification (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)

  • Looking at ability to pay from day 1, avoiding potential pitfalls early
  • Considerations in applying for labor certification for asylum applicants
  • How to deal with status violations meanwhile
  • Ethics in filing PERM: from payment to bona fide job offer
  • DOL and BALCA trends: When must employers contact applicants? What is a “reasonable period of on the job training” and how does it affect the minimum requirements for the job?
  • I-140 stage and common RFE trends
  • Port of entry and adjustment of status issues


Discussion Leader:     Alexis Axelrad, AILA (National) Board of Governors

Panelists:                     Heather Prendergast, AILA (National) Board of Governors

                                    William Stock, AILA (National) Past President

                                    Jeff Joseph

                                    Jeff Devore


3:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Cafecito carts open (On the Skyline Terrace)


3:10 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Ain’t No Stopping Us Now – J-1 Waivers (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


  • How to determine if your client needs a J-1 waiver
  • Procedure to file a waiver
    • No objection
    • Extreme hardship
    • Persecution
    • Medical graduates with J-1 visas


Discussion Leader:     Sandra Sheridan Reguerin

Panelists:                     Maria Mejia-Opaciuch

Helena Tetzeli


4:05 P.M. - 4:55 P.M.

Another Brick in the Wall – Student Issues (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


  • How best to represent applicants for F, M, and J visas
  • Best practices for applying for F, M and J status
  • Maintaining status
  • Once your client is admitted as an F, M or J, how best to utilize CPT and OPT
  • As graduation and OPT expiration dates are approaching how best to plan for the H1B cap and/or PERM
  • Best ways to avoid the H1B cap
  • Other alternatives for students who are approaching graduation and do not have a US job offer or have not been selected in the H1B cap
  • Consequences of attending school while in B status
  • Risks associated with international travel and renewal of visa at the end of the program
  • Risks associated with international travel while pending OPT or H1B


Discussion Leader:     Jeffrey Bernstein

Panelist:                      Sandra Sheridan Reguerin

                                    Oliver Langstadt


3:40 P.M. – 4:55 P.M.

America the Beautiful - Federal Denaturalization Panel (Bloom Ballroom)


The federal government must meet a high burden of proof when attempting to revoke an individual’s naturalization by civil proceedings or as a result of a criminal conviction for naturalization fraud. This panel will cover civil denaturalization as well as denaturalization in the criminal conviction context. You will learn how individuals are placed into denaturalization proceedings and how to assess possible defenses.


Panelists:                     Maggie Arias

John P. Pratt, AILA (National) Board of Governors

                                    Ray Bolourtchi


4:55 P.M. – 5:00 P.M.                  

Cocktail Sponsor Spotlight                      


5:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M.

Cocktail Reception (On the Skyline Terrace)




FRIDAY, February 28, 2020


7:30 A.M. - 8:00 A.M.

Registration and Continental Breakfast


8:00 A.M. - 8:50 A.M.

Let’s Dance – Expert Roundtable: An Interactive Discussion with Business Immigration Lawyers (Bloom Ballroom)


Bring your business immigration questions to our interactive forum to discuss the following topics and other emerging practice issues.


  • H-1B - is anything still a specialty occupation?
  • RFE trends and how to be successful in responding?
  • Employment Based Adjustment of Status Interviews at USCIS
  • Tips if your business client wants to go to Federal Court


Discussion Leaders:    Tammy Fox-Isicoff, AILA (National) Board of Governors

Heather Prendergast

Allen Orr*

Mark Prada


8:00 A.M. - 8:50 A.M.

We Will Rock You – Expert Roundtable: An Interactive Discussion with the Removal Defense Bar (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


Bring your issues and questions to this interactive forum to discuss local and national trends with the experts – regional leaders and the conference panelists.


Discussion Leaders:    Juan Carlos Gomez

Linda Osberg

John Gihon*

Chuck Roth


8:50 A.M – 9:00 A.M.

Coffee Break


9:00 A.M. - 9:50 A.M.

Changes - Advanced Adjustment of Status Issues (Bloom Ballroom)


  • What is 245(k) and when can it be applied?
  • Distinguishing unlawful presence and unlawful status
  • Is anyone still 245i?
  • Entry without inspection versus entry with photo switched passport?
  • Visa retrogression, how it affects your game plan and also can impact CSPA
  • Update on international travel impacted by the filing of Adjustment of Status
  • How to maintain permanent residence status once approved
  • When your client wants to give up their permanent residence status
  • How to regain permanent residence status through an SB1
  • Residence status in special cases (prior US Citizens, diplomats)
  • And other practice pointers for local USCIS offices


Discussion Leader:     Jacob Ratzan, Chair, AILA South Florida USCIS Liaison Committee, Miami

Panelists:                     Tulio Suarez, Chair, AILA Central Florida/AILA South Florida USCIS Liaison Committee, Fort Myers

Miriam Acosta-Castriz, Chair, AILA South Florida USCIS Liaison Committee, West Palm Beach

Bruce Marmar, USCIS Miami, District Training Officer for S24


9:00 A.M. – 9:50 A.M.

I’m Still Standing - Crimes 1: Categorical Approach (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


  • Overview of latest major cases construing the analysis
  • Application:
    • Overview of significant decisions
    • Discussion of recurring crimes (controlled substances and beyond)


Discussion Leader:     John Gihon, President, AILA Central Florida*

Panelists:                     Mary Kramer

Chuck Roth


9:50 A.M. - 10:05 A.M.

Coffee Break


10:05 A.M. – 10:55 A.M.

Can’t Stand Losing You - Crimes II: Overcoming Crimes(Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


  • Latest in relief from removal
  • Burden of Proof, Almanza-Arenas, circa 2020
  • Vacaturs, state remedial relief
  • A.G. Barr and the good moral character requirement for DUI and 240A(b)


Discussion Leader:     Jeremy McKinney AILA (National) Second Vice-President

Panelists:                     Dan Kesselbrenner                

                                    Rebecca “Becky” Sharpless


10:05 A.M. – 10:55 A.M.

I Go To Work - Employer Compliance (Bloom Ballroom)


  • LCA compliance
  • Onsite inspections by FDNS
  • I-9 compliance
  • I-9 audits


Discussion Leader:     Marketa Lindt

Panelists:                     Enrique Gonzalez

Patricia Castillo Flanagan


10:55 A.M. – 11:05 A.M.

Coffee Break


11:05 A.M. – 11:55 A.M. – Shake It Off –Expect the Unexpected (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


  • Managing client expectations
  • How to bill in these times of lengthy adjudications
  • How to deal with USCIS in a time when communications and Infopass is limited
  • How to make time for emergencies when your schedule is already overstretched
  • How to manage your schedule when everything immigration related takes longer and more effort
  • Stress and anxiety management for yourself, your staff and your clients


Discussion Leader:     Gina Polo

Panelists:                     Nicolas Watkins

Elina Santana


11:05 A.M. - 11:55 A.M. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Federal Litigation & Detention Challenges 2020 (Bloom)


  • Challenging Florida’s non-sanctuary status
  • Fighting detainers
  • Detention and conditional challenges
  • Bond and parole updates


Discussion Leader:     Kevin Gregg

Panelists:                     Alana Greer

                                    Lisa Lehner


11:55 A.M. - 1:10 P.M.

Annual Chapter Awards Lunch (included in registration fee) (Bloom Ballroom)


  • Platinum Sponsor Spotlight




  • Awards and Keynote Speaker to be announced

1:15 P.M. – 2:05 P.M.

24K Magic - Pre-immigration estate and tax planning (Bloom Ballroom)


  • When should the foreign national engage a pre-immigration tax planning advisor
  • CPA versus tax attorney
  • Importance of locating a CPA or Tax attorney experienced with handling matters for foreign nationals
  • Tax on US income versus worldwide income?
  • When is US estate tax triggered?
  • Effect of US permanent resident filing tax return as a non-resident


Discussion Leader:     Jack Finkelman

Panelists:                     Stewart Kasner

Diana Nobile

Karen Lapekas


2:05 P.M. - 2:15 P.M.

Coffee Break


2:15 P.M. - 3:05 P.M.

Like a Rock: Aggressive Removal Litigation – technical and procedural moves (Bloom Ballroom)


  • Pereira 2020 – challenging jurisdiction post Perez-Sanchez
    • What’s a claims processing rule, showing prejudice
    • Administrative Closure
      • Theory for affirmative litigation, challenging standard outside 4th Circuit
    • Termination: IJ and DHS authority
    • Res judicata
    • Recusal – when and how
    • Using TRAC data
    • AG Certification process
    • Future-proofing
      • Theories of PFR (reminder of standards of review for issue preservation)


  • Discussion Leader:     Rebeca Sanchez-Roig

·         Panelists:                     Ben Winograd

Lory Rosenberg

Diana Alvarez


2:15 P.M. - 3:05 P.M.

Mr. Roboto: Tech issues (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)


  • Best practices for increased productivity and efficiency
  • How to deliver services faster
  • Duty to protect client dates
  • The best advice for tracking time management, case management and workflow
  • How to ensure your practice remains relevant as technology pushes forward
  • Tools for legal research


Discussion Leader:     Michael Harris

Panelists:                     Nadine Heitz

                                    Jeff Devore


3:05 P.M.

Cafecito Cart open for one hour (On the Skyline Terrace)


3:20 P.M. – 4:20 P.M.

The Show Must Go On – EB5 (Bayview Ballroom/Arboretum)

  • New EB-5 Regulations: Summary of changes and what is new.
  • New TEA Definitions: How will they affect preexisting and new projects?
  • Sources & Path of Funds: New challenges when investing $900,000 or $1.8 million.
  • Investor Protection in Failed Projects.
  • Risks & Rewards: Creative options for EB-5 investors stuck in the immigrant visa backlog or who may be unable to invest (or be in the process of investing) $900,000 at the time of filing an I-526.
  • I-829 Issues: When can investors get their “capital” returned to them? When is “redeployment” required? Plus, options when job creation is delayed.
  • Litigation Update: Zhang & SOF from loan proceeds; derivative quota; injunction to stop new regulations; and mandamus for long processing times for I-526s and I-829s.
  • What does the future hold? Will new reform, legislation and future regulations change the program once again?


Discussion Leader:     Michael Harris

Panelist:                      Luciana Fischer

                                    Edward Beshara

                                    John P. Pratt


3:20 P.M. - 4:10 P.M.

Stronger - Motions and Stays (Escaping from Alcatraz Miramar)

  • Nken standards
  • Sua Sponte 2020
  • Equitable tolling 2020
    • Building the winning record
    • Dealing with changes in law, changes in asylum facts, new relief
    • Practical stay practice:
      • DHS
      • BIA
      • Circuit
      • Coping with Non-judicial removal orders:
      • Stipulated orders
      • Administrative orders
      • Expedited orders 
      • What are they? Who do they apply to?
      • How do you challenge them directly? Is there collateral attack?
      • Intersection with reopening, stays, custody
      •  Crises in maintaining LPR Status
      • Challenging CIS actions
      • Defending attacks on LPR status (springing 237(a)(1)(A) issues)
      • Abandonment
      • Proving status


Discussion Leader:     Michael Vastine

Panelist:                      Jeremy McKinney

                                    Sui Chung


4:10 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.

Get Up, Stand Up - AIC Benefit Silent Auction and Cocktail Reception, (On the Skyline Terrace)


The South Florida AIC Committee cordially invites you to attend the cocktail hour in support of the American Immigration Council. Please join us for an evening of fun at Jungle Island, right after the closure of the CLE for refreshments, raffles, a silent auction and great networking with your colleagues.


Reception Master of Ceremonies:               Sui Chung

Silent Auction:                                              Nicolas Watkins


*Speaker confirmation pending

All panels will also address ethical issues and considerations affecting their respective topics.

Have questions about 41ST ANNUAL AILA SOUTH FLORIDA IMMIGRATION LAW UPDATE - FEB 27-28, 2020? Contact AILA South Florida

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When & Where

Bloom Ballroom at Jungle Island
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami Beach, FL 33132

Thursday, February 27, 2020 at 8:00 AM - Friday, February 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM (EST)

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