USA: US Embassy Hosts Immigration Attorney Conference

March 16, 2015,  Manila– To raise the level of discourse between consular officers and immigration attorneys for the benefit of visa applicants worldwide, the United States Embassy in Manila participated in the Bangkok District Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) third annual conference on March 12 and 13. The two-day conference featured issues of interest to members of the organization practicing immigration law.

“Embassy Manila welcomed the opportunity to engage with AILA Bangkok District members. The exchanges helped to clarify the respective roles of immigration lawyers and Consular officers in the execution of U.S. immigration policy and visa services to better serve the public,” explained Consul General Donna M. Blair.

The conference included panels of attorneys and U.S. officials as well as a tour of the U.S. Embassy. Attorneys also played “applicant for a day” where they experienced the visa interview process from their clients’ point of view, followed by a question-and-answer session with the Embassy’s consular managers and DHS U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

“The Embassy is eager to engage attorneys and the public in ways that make the visa application process as transparent as possible,” said Consular Officer Abigail Richey-Allen, who organized the Embassy’s participation in the conference.

Participants from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and Department of Homeland Security included Consul General Donna M. Blair, USCIS Field Office Director Thomas Curley, Immigrant Visa Chief John Boyll, Non-Immigrant Visa Chief Bill Christopher, American Citizen Services Chief Bob Jachim and others who served as panelists in the two-day conference and Embassy tour.

Visiting panelists included Mr. Jeffrey Gorsky, Chief of Advisory Opinions for the Visa Office of the Department of State in Washington, DC and District Director of USCIS Asia/Pacific District Office Donald Monica.  The U.S. Consulate in Chennai, India participated via teleconference.


Source: US Manila Embassy /

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