An Introduction

Statue of Liberty Sunset Full

A friend recently told me that I am one of a very few number of people she knows who genuinely loves what they do for a living. While making my way through law school, on a whim I decided to take an immigration law class. Until that point, I thought that I would be an international lawyer, not knowing what the heck that really meant. It sure sounded exciting though - international lawyer. After my first year in law school, however, I returned burned out from a summer in Beijing reviewing a slew of multimillion dollar pre-Olympics construction contracts. That's when I received some sage advice from my father - just take a class that I would personally enjoy. Upon searching the law school's course guide, one class in particular stood out. It seemed to combine my interests in international issues and the law, yet appealed to my personal background as a second-generation American of multi-ethnicities who had lived abroad. I had discovered immigration law.

Years later, I am now an immigration attorney working in Chicago, Illinois at MILLA LAW, LLC. Immigration law may have started as a class, but it soon became my professional calling. More than that, it is a means for people to fulfill their dreams in the U.S. That, in great part, is what pulls me to this area of law and fascinates me about the prospects of what immigration laws can do for people. And I enjoy meeting and assisting people - lending a voice as an advocate to those who dream to remain or come here. I have been fortunate to work in the immigration field and have clients trust me to represent them. It is an incredibly satisfying experience to receive an approval or hear a judge grant a case - at last seeing an asylum client reveal a smile that has been hiding for years amidst a tumultuous case and life.

As you would guess, not all cases have happy endings. For many, no law exists to permit immigration status in the U.S. or relief from removal (deportation). With 2013, however, there has been renewed talk of immigration reform. Those who are more pessimistic believe that that is all it will ever amount to - talk. Understandably for many, recent history tempers expectations; politics as usual could very well take over, allowing nothing to pass. The first Obama administration was a roller coaster rife with contradiction. It began with the promise of immigration reform, then reached all-time highs in enforcement and removal, and finally closed with new prosecutorial discretion policies and the creation of deferred action for those who arrived as children.

This year, the president has made a concerted effort to place immigration at the top of the agenda. Politicians from both sides are working together to propose legislation. Such efforts appear to give substance to the "talk" of immigration reform. Advocacy groups are working to keep immigration at the forefront of policy discussions, attorneys are challenging existing laws in court, and brave individuals such as Jose Antonio Vargas have put themselves on the line, providing a voice and inspiration for the millions of undocumented. These are very exciting, albeit uncertain, times.

Image

My plan with this blog is to provide a user-friendly forum for tracking, discussing, and understanding immigration news. From the courts to the Capitol, the coming years promise to produce plenty of news and discourse on U.S. immigration laws. At times, I will provide stories from my cases and experiences with U.S. immigration courts and agencies, and hope that most, if not all, will end happily - a person allowed to enter, allowed to stay - living without fear of removal, living above the shadows of the undocumented, living his or her vision of the American Dream.

February 24, 2013

Categories: Voices in Immigration