Registration Open for the 11th Annual Northern Border Conference!

The 11th Annual Northern Border Immigration Conference will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Buffalo, NY, on Friday, September 20, 2019.

You can register for the conference here:

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Hyatt at a preferential rate. The room block can be accessed here:

The program will feature many prominent speakers from private practice and government, who will discuss current US and Canadian immigration topics. We have invited Sonya Tsiros, United States Consul in Toronto to be our luncheon keynote speaker and her office has asked that we provide them with questions and topics of interest ahead of the conference. As soon as possible, please send Lucrecia Knapp ( your questions and topics that you would like for Sonya to discuss.

We have also invited local CBP officers to join our CBP panel, and there will be an update from Canadian attorneys and CBSA officers on the impact of cannabis and drinking and driving legislation in Canada. This is a great chance to network and hear renowned speakers on timely topics.  We also have a new feature this year – AILA national Practice Management Advisor, Charity Anastasio, will be offering a limited number of 30-minute one-on-one consultations.

Conference Program:

8:00 a.m. – 8:55 a.m. Full breakfast, Check-in, Networking
8:55 a.m. Welcome and Introduction, Conference Co-chairs: Sergio R. Karas, Karas Immigration Law Professional Corporation (Toronto)
Lucrecia Z. Knapp, Upstate NY Chapter of AILA Chair, Harter Secrest & Emery LLP (Rochester)
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. CBP Northern Border Update
Discussion Leader: Rosanna Berardi, Berardi Immigration Law (Buffalo)
Panel Speakers: Danielle Rizzo, Harris Beach PLLC (Buffalo); Alexis Axelrad, Barst Mukamal & Kleiner LLP (New York); CBP ofcers*
10:10 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. CBSA Update: Ports of Entry Procedures, and the Impact of New Cannabis and Drinking and Driving Legislation
Discussion Leader: Sergio R. Karas, Karas Immigration Law Professional Corporation (Toronto)
Panel Speakers: ; Michael Prosia, Chief Southern Ontario Region, CBSA; Tina De Luca, Chief Southern Ontario Region, CBSA;
David Garson, Garson LLP (Toronto); Chantal Desloges, Desloges Law Group (Toronto)
11:10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Coffee Break
11:30 a.m. –12:30 p.m. Hot Topics on Visas, Work Permits, Residence, and Old and New Issues on Both Sides of the Bordec
Discussion Leader: Daniel Joyce, Fiegel, Carr & Joyce (Buffalo)
Panel Speakers: Naseem Malik, Stringer LLP (Toronto); Nan Berezowski, Berezowski Business Immigration Law (Toronto); David
Wilks, Miller Mayer LLP (Ithaca)
12:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Lunch
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Keynote Speaker Sonya M. Tsiros*, Consular Section Chief, U.S. Consulate General (Toronto)
Introduction: Joseph C. Grasmick, Past Chapter Chair
1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Presentation of Peter J. Murrett III Pro Bono Award
2:10 p.m. – 3:10 p.m. Ethics Roundtable: Dealing with Difcult Cases and Clients
Discussion Leader: Craig Dobson, Dobson Law LLC (New York)
Panelists: Randolph Hahn, Garson LLP (Toronto); Barbara Brenner, Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP (Albany)
3:20 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Practice and Risk Management and Professionalism: Tips from the Pros on how to Improve your Practice and Reduce Stress
Panelists: Katie James, Claims Counsel, Law Pro (Toronto); Charity Anastasio, Practice Management Advisor, AILA National
(Washington, D.C.)

Registration Open for AILA Upstate Chapter Annual Meeting and Diversity CLE

Register now for our Annual Meeting and Diversity CLE to be held on Friday, May 10 at Belhurst Castle in Geneva, New York. You can register for the Annual Meeting, CLE, or both on our registration site.

I encourage everyone to attend the Annual Meeting. We will be presenting the Mark Kenmore Mentor Award, discussing the organization’s fiscal and membership reports, and electing chapter officers. It is also a great opportunity to network and meet other upstate immigration practitioners.

If you haven’t been to Geneva, New York lately, you are in for a treat! Geneva has great restaurants and sightseeing opportunities. Geneva’s FLX Table restaurant was named the country’s best new restaurant by USA Today:

There are rooms available at Belhurst Castle for those that want to stay the night or weekend. For information about Belhurst, please see their website:

Another hotel is Geneva on the Lake:

There are also vineyards, breweries, and great bars:

If you have any questions about any of this, please do not hesitate to contact anyone on the Executive Committee.

Thank you,

Meet the New Leadership – U.S. Consulate, Toronto

Private reception at Toronto’s historic University Club, with its
spectacular collection of Canada’s “Group of Seven” paintings

Sponsored by the Upstate NY and Canada Chapters
of the American Immigration Lawyers Association

Honored guests:
Sonya M. Tsiros, Chief, Consular Section (Confirmed)
Hon. Gregory S. Stanford, Consul General (Invited)
Nathan Tidwell, Visa Chief
Consular visa officers and staff

Date: September 6, 2018
Time: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Networking, 6:00-7:00 Informal Q&A

Place: The University Club, University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
(Adjacent to the US Consulate)

AILA Members $ 37
General, and guests $ 50
Not for profit employees $ 18.50
(Includes light refreshments, and drink ticket for one alcoholic beverage or two non-alcoholic.)

Annual Meeting and Spring Fundamentals CLE, June 1 in Rochester

The AILA Upstate NY chapter annual meeting was held on Friday, June 1, at The Inn on Broadway in Rochester. The event began at 5 pm with an open bar until 6, followed by dinner.

The meeting was preceded by an all-day CLE conference targeted to newer practitioners. Our special guest was Seattle-area immigration lawyer Ally Lozano, who spoke on How to Be the CEO of Your Law Firm. Other panels focused on removal defense, adjustment of status, change of status, and employment-based nonimmigrant visas. Attendance at all sessions earned six NY CLE credits.

Breakfast and lunch were included with the CLE.

The chapter meeting included the election of chapter officers, presentation of the annual Mark Kenmore Mentor Award, and reports to the membership.

Registration Re-Opened for Distinguished Speaker Series: US Consul Juan Alsace at the Buffalo Club: Now April 9, 2018

Private Invitation!

Register now for our Distinguished Speaker Series, featuring Juan Alsace, US Consul General, Toronto

“Trade, Immigration, and Diplomacy in the Golden Horseshoe”

April 9, 2018

The Crystal Room, The Buffalo Club, 388 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201 (716) 886-6400
5:30PM-Meet and mingle
6:00PM-Presentation and Q&A
6:45PM-Dinner (Included in fee. Drinks “Dutch Treat.”)

$39 AILA Members and sponsors
$19 Employees of not for profits
$49 Guests and all others

Buffalo Club Dress Code:
Men: Coat and tie.
Women: Business suits, dresses, skirt and blouse combinations or tailored pants suits.
(No denim, dress or otherwise, for both.)

Juan Alsace, US Consul General, Toronto, Biography:
A Buffalo native, Mr. Alsace runs all operations at one of the world’s largest US consulates. This includes State, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, and Defense Dept. activity in Canada’s commercial, cultural, and financial capital. He has been a diplomat for 31 years, including stints heading Caribbean and Intelligence departments. Mr. Alsace was honored with numerous prestigious awards for this service.

Ninth Annual Northern Border U.S./Canada Immigration Law Conference, Oct. 20, 2017, Ellicottville, NY

Registration is now open for the annual fall Northern Border conference, taking place this year on Friday, October 20, at the Holiday Valley Mountain Resort and Conference Center in Ellicottville, NY, approximately an hour south of Buffalo. See the program below for CLE information. Breakfast, lunch, and a cocktail reception after the conference are provided.


The fall conference maintains a focus on issues pertinent to attorneys and others in the United States and Canada who assist individuals and organizations with interests in both countries. Special emphasis is given to the policies and procedures at U.S. and Canadian border posts and consulates. The theme this year – dealing with change – is something the panelists speaking at the conference are well equipped to assist you with. They are some of the leading experts on U.S./Canadian immigration, and they work with the effects of the new U.S. immigration climate every day.

We are pleased to announce that the keynote speaker this year will be Consul General Juan Alsace from the U.S. consulate in Toronto.

For those wishing to stay at Holiday Valley before or after the conference, reserve your room by calling (800) 323-0020.