Nearly 3000 immigration lawyers from around the US are attending the annual meeting of the American Immigration Lawyers Association meeting in San Diego and I'm here as I've been for the last 20 years. I spoke last night on a panel entitled 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Practicing Immigration Law. Of course, I could come up with a list a lot longer than that, but tried to pick a few that some of the younger lawyers out there might find helpful.


I'm going to blog breaking news here and will start with live blogging a session I'm now attending with USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas.


- He's telling several immigrant success stories and stressing the US as the world's beacon of light. President Obama is committed to keeping American safe while maintaining the spirit of our immigration history.


- Aspirations of US immigration system in the hands of USCIS and how they exercise that care is of immense importance.


- Proud of USCIS colleagues, but committed to addressing the challenges.


- 150,000 customers reached through its engagements


- Posting dozens of memoranda for public comment.


- Posting on a quarterly basis statistics on receipts and approvals for various visa categories.


- Hiring 19 additional AAO offices so appeals can go faster.


- EB-5 - premium processing, interviews with expert panels coming soon


- Direct real time contact between applicants and USCIS officials; potential for faster and easier adjudication of cases, but concerns about abuse. They'll be studying how this goes.


- Less fortunate should have lesser access because they lack a lawyer.


- USCIS will go mobile bringing computers and personnel to remote communities. AILA urged to provide pro bono representation to many of these individuals.


- USCIS is committed to combatting unauthorized practice of immigration law; "historic, sustained effort" with many agencies cooperating. Slogan: "The Wrong Help Can Hurt".


- Transformation - USCIS modernization program to move from paper to streamlined electronic system; I-539 coming in December. Faster this happens, the greater the efficiencies and the realization of tremendous savings.


- Prioritization of protecting integrity of immigration system can co-exist with tradition of having a welcoming system.


- Redesign of training system for officers. Enhance training of adjudicators on intent of the law and the standard of proof to be applied. Industry experts will advise officers. This will cut down on flawed Requests for Evidence. New templates being developed.


- Kazarian memo to be discussed tomorrow in USCIS Open Forum.