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  • Article: AILA's Contributions to AIC - Another Area Where AILA Lacks Integrity by Kenneth Rinzler

    AILA's Contributions to AIC - Another Area Where AILA Lacks Integrity

    by Kenneth Rinzler

    It's time to stop AILA from forcing its members to donate nearly $500,000 every year to the American Immigration Council (AIC). One easy way to do this is for AILA members to decline the $50.00 suggested "voluntary" additional contribution to AIC which is on our annual dues renewal statement.

    The AIC is, of course, part and parcel of AILA, although both organizations like to hide behind the legal fiction that they are separate entities under IRS rules.

    How they are the same:

    • AIC is located in AILA's headquarters' building
    • AILA contributes, through the national and its chapters, over $500,000 annually to AIC, comprising about one-third of their $1.41 non-program revenue budget*
    • The top officers and BOG members of AILA also serve as the top officers and directors of AIC*
    • AIC is prominently featured on AILA's website

    As I have shown in the past and as anyone can verify from looking at the tax returns of the two organizations, AILA national gives hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in contributions to AIC ($296,881 in 2010 and $275,000 in 2011), which is almost evenly matched by the aggregate of individual chapter contributions, making for an annual subsidy of $500,000 to the AIC from AILA members. And as everyone knows, neither the national nor chapters get to vote or have any real input on whether these contributions should be made at all, and if so in what amount.

    Whether one agrees with the work of the AIC or not is beside the point. The issue is that even without suggested voluntary contributions - which many members may not even realize they can opt-out or feel embarrassed if they don't contribute - AIC couldn't exist without AILA member dues and it's about time both AILA and the AIC had the integrity to admit this fact.

    If AILA members want to fund the AIC that's fine, but it's intellectually and morally dishonest for AILA member national and chapter dues to be funneled to AIC without our consent.

    We shouldn't have to opt out of voluntary contributions (anyone not living in a cave knows how disagreeable it is when companies make people opt out, from mailing lists to additional financial services).

    We shouldn't be forced to belong to a chapter and pay additional chapter dues on top of national dues when those chapters turn around and immediately pass through a portion of those dues to AIC, again without our true knowledge or input or consent.

    So I urge my colleagues to take the first step - do not contribute any additional money to the American Immigration Council, AILA's baby and another of its advocacy arms.

    * This information comes from AILA's 2010 and 2011 IRS Form 990 (Tax Return) and AIC's 2010 Form 990 (the latest found online). For the 2010 tax return, AIC lists the following people as officers and directors: President - Paul Zulkie; Secretary - Robert Juceam; Treasurer - Warren Leiden; Director - David Leopold; Director - Charles Kuck; Director: Bernard Wolfsdorf. Any of those names sound familiar?


    About The Author

    Kenneth Rinzler is an immigration lawyer in Washington, DC, and a frequent visitor to consular posts, having now traveled to 40 countries. A graduate of Georgetown University and Seton Hall University School of Law, he is a member of the District of Columbia, Indiana, New Jersey, and U.S. Supreme Court Bars. In addition to authoring articles for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), he has written on immigration law for the German American Chamber of Commerce. Before specializing in immigration law, he spent nearly ten years working as a legislative assistant and counsel to a U.S. Congressman, and thus has an intimate knowledge of Federal legislative and administrative procedures


    The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.
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