The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has targeted this week, Sept. 11-15, as “national call-in week” for immigration attorneys and representatives of high-tech companies to lobby Congress to raise the cap for H1-B visas, Atlanta attorney Daryl Buffenstein told GlobalFax.

Mr. Buffenstein, who is a partner with the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker and general counsel for AILA, said in a telephone interview that he expects new legislation to be voted on before the beginning of the 2001 fiscal year on Oct. 1.

AILA, a national organization of some 6,000 immigration attorneys, favors legislation that raises the annual cap on H-1B’s, the type used most often by high-tech workers, to 200,000 for the next three years and makes it easier for immigrants employed by high-tech firms to stay in the U.S.

While the “national call-in week” has been scheduled primarily to mobilize AILA members “and get their blood pumping,” he encouraged anyone interested in enlarging the cap to become involved.

During the interview, Mr. Buffenstein rattled off the telephone numbers of the Congressional switchboard and the White House as well as the national offices of the Bush and Gore campaigns as an inducement to participate in the action.

AILA also is organizing a special “Lobby Day” on Wednesday, Sept. 13, in Washington D.C. that is to begin with a briefing on Capitol Hill.

The existing H1-B quota was reached quickly in the first months of this year, and residual applicants are already on the list for 2001, filling part of the quota before 2001 even begins.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) ordered a cap reduction for 2001 last year following reports that the agency distributed between 10,000 and 20,000 H1-B visas after the cap had been reached.

To support legislation to raise the H1-B quota, call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak with your representatives or senators, the White House at (202) 456-1414, the Bush campaign at (512) 632-7000 or the Gore campaign at (615) 340-2000.

Mr. Buffenstein may be reached at (404) 815-2232 or send an e-mail to