AILA's Transparency Taskforce Awarded U.S. Patent for Perfecting Hypocrisy Process

by Kenneth Rinzler

As readers of ILW.COM know, AILA lacks transparency in virtually everything it does. In an effort to address at least some of the items which have been brought to the membership's attention, earlier this year the then President of AILA appointed a "Transparency Taskforce". Unfortunately, the only thing transparent about the taskforce has been its lack of transparency. In view of that, I believe the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently awarded AILA the first ever patent for perfecting hypocrisy.

To my knowledge, AILA never issued an official announcement about the Taskforce, giving such information as its:

  • Composition
  • Mandate
  • Procedures
  • Timeframe for action and submitting recommendations and, most of all
  • Reason for Formation

The taskforce is composed of eleven members, and four of those eleven are past Presidents of AILA (while the ExCom liaison to the taskforce automatically becomes the next President of AILA in July 2014). Thus virtually half of this taskforce is composed of people who helped put AILA in this mess in the first place. When you consider that a few of the remaining members are present/former Chapter Chairs, BOG members, etc., you can see that the deck is more stacked than Anita Ekberg (showing my age here).

No mandate was ever announced, so we don't officially know what policies and/or areas the taskforce is supposed to consider, and which are off-limits. We have been told by the chair informally, however -- who says she doesn't speak for AILA yet is the only one making any announcements/postings about the taskforce -- that although rules of the Message Center (MC) are being considered, the MC ban of Susan McFadden and yours truly are not, despite it being universally recognized that it's been my articles and postings about AILA's lack of transparency which led to both our ban and the formation of this taskforce. That really impressed the Patent Office examiners.

Neither was an announcement made as to how this taskforce would operate, such as how information would be gathered, whether individuals active in this area would be contacted, whether informal meetings or teleconferences would be held, how recommendations would be compiled and presented, etc. In short, everything seems to be at the discretion (a fancy word for whim) of the chair.

Nor was any timeframe given. The taskforce was announced at the BOG meeting last January - six months ago-- yet virtually no serious movement has been made since then, with the national giving out such excuses as the AILA national elections, the annual conference, CIR, etc. Well the first two events occur as regularly as clockwork, while the latter may well continue forever, so those reasons lack substance. Only the leadership views the need for transparency as a new issue, and maybe if they spent less time on their vanity blog and more on what the associaton needs, there would have been more progress by now.

Last, and especially in view of all of the above, there was no acknowledgment by the leadership as to why this taskforce was really formed: because they were forced to do so as a long-overdue step to satisfy members' legitimate concerns about the poor way AILA has been operating in so many areas. It would have gone a long way towards restoring the national's credibility had it been more transparent with the taskforce.

I hope the general membership gets to share in the revenues generated by this unique patent.

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.

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