The 2010 National AILA seminar began at the Gaylord Convention Center in Washington, D.C's National Harbor this morning with an inspired opening by immediate past AILA president Charles Kuck and a passionate call for comprehensive immigration reform (CIS), the subject of President Obama's speech at American University this very morning.
It's been 7 years since I've been to a national AILA convention and BOY have things changed. The half dozen booth exhibits have multiplied into dozens of booths hosted by EB-5, publishers, credentialing services and the like. Instead of another 6 pound program, the 1000+ pages of materials came on a little USB drive.
But the most noticeable difference is the size of the crowd. I was told at registration last night than some 2500 attendees are here...as I recall, that's about 4 times as many as my last national convention.
No doubt about it, the subject of immigration is hot today, but for mostly bad reasons. The palpable mood is one of disbelief, as the glaring incongruities, injustice and foolhardiness in the areas of enforcement, business immigration delays, and problem of undocumented aliens continue to be administered in a knee-jerk fashion.
It is clear that the emotions behind the topic of immigration run far deeper than do the rational efforts aimed toward CIS. Let's hope Mr. Obama has something concrete to deliver at AU this morning, because we sure haven't gotten what he promised us before his election.