Government Law Center, NYSBA Publish Book to Inform Immigration Policy

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[In February 2020, Professor Ava Ayers announced that she is transgender. This article has been edited to reflect her gender identity. Read more here.]

Albany Law School and the New York State Bar Association teamed up to publish a 19-chapter book detailing current immigration law and policy at the local, state, and national levels. The book, Is America Fulfilling Its Promise? Safeguarding the Legal Protections of Immigrants, provides a comprehensive view of immigration enforcement and reform in the United States—a much-debated issue in American discourse.

“This debate presents complex, difficult, and emotional issues,” said Rose Mary Bailly, the book’s co-editor. “The book offers a concise explanation of current law which will hopefully make lawyers, policy makers, and lay people more informed participants in—or observers of—the debate.”

Bailly is an adjunct professor and special counsel to the Aging and Disabilities Law Program of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School.

“This book shows how much more our nation has to do in order to provide immigrants a safe, legal path to citizenship or, if they prefer, a right to work here for a specified time,” Bailly said.

Scott Fein, a partner at Whiteman Osterman & Hanna in Albany, N.Y., co-edited the book with Bailly. Is America Fulfilling Its Promise? Safeguarding the Legal Protections of Immigrants is available in print and online through the New York State Bar Association’s website [https://www.nysba.org/store/detail.aspx?id=42619]. 

Professor Ava Ayers, director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, and Professor Sarah Rogerson, director of the Immigration Law Clinic within The Justice Center at Albany Law School, wrote chapters. Kendra Sena, senior staff attorney at the Government Law Center, also contributed several chapters: "explainers” to help attorneys, advocates, and concerned community members alike understand the issues at play.

The book is the first of its kind from any bar association in the U.S. as it examines the contrast between how New York State and the federal government are currently treating immigrants. Topics range from the presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in courtrooms to what “sanctuary” could mean for New York State to how to navigate the asylum process.

The book also covers many practical aspects of immigration law that have been in the news, such as requirements for adoption and marriage; work visas; estate planning for non-citizens; public benefits; municipal IDs; driver’s licenses; and sanctuary policies.

“This book shows how a nation built by immigrants can and should treat those who come to our shores in search of better lives,” said NYSBA President Hank Greenberg . “It draws on the combined efforts of dedicated jurists, law professors, legal service organizations, lawyers and local law enforcement to address today’s immigration challenges in a constructive, humane way.”

“Though created and written primarily by lawyers, the book is not just for the legal community,” continued Greenberg. “Public officials will find insightful information here as will anyone, lawyer or not, committed to the rule of law.”