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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

My Candidacy for AILA Board of Governors

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I have been selected by the Nominating Committee as a candidate for the office of Director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association's Board of Governors. For those who don't know me, I maintain a full service immigration law practice, handling cases in all areas of immigration and nationality law with a focus on deportation defense before Immigration Courts throughout the United States, appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals. I have been a member of AILA since 1997.

During the last three years I have served as the EOIR liaison for the Upstate New York Chapter, and was awarded the chapter's Equal Justice Under the Law Peter J. Murrett III Pro Bono Award in recognition for community service. In addition, I was awarded the New York Law Journal's Lawyer Who Leads by Example award for 2015 for providing pro bono representation to refugee children before the immigration court. In 2017, I received the Erie County Bar Association's Pro Bono Award in recognition and appreciation for pro bono legal services performed in immigration matters before the Court.

I am honored to already have had my candidacy endorsed by Charles Kuck, Doug Stump, Margaret D. Stock, Amy Maldonado, Danielle Rizzo, and Daniel Thomann, Rosanna Berardi, Mechelle Zarou, Isabel Barbarin, Daniel Joyce, Rita Georges and Michael Serotte, Tracy A. Powell and Steve Brent, Jeff Zimskin, Ramon Rivera, Lindsay Curcio, James D Eiss, Barbara C. Brenner, Jennifer Behm, Kurt Saccone, Siana J. McLean, Nina F. Juncewicz, Michael Marszalkowski, Joseph C. Grasmick, and Russell W. Roberts.

If elected my focus will be on the improvement and expansion of member benefits, transparency of governance, and the limitation of advocacy messaging to nonpartisan analysis of the immigration law.

I believe that AILA's main focus should be on serving the members of the organization, and it has a fiduciary responsibility to avoid advocating for policies that will harm our members financially.

I also believe that AILA's advocacy efforts have been both ineffective and detrimental to the reputation of the organization. Moving forward, I will fight to limit AILA’s official messaging to strict legal analysis of immigration law and procedure, addressing deprivations of due process, and administrative deficiencies.

It goes without saying that I have been one of AILA's harshest critics, but I am willing to make my voice heard from the inside in an effort to make our association better.

Thank you for your kind consideration.

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Updated 03-16-2018 at 08:32 AM by MKolken

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