One of the ironies of working as an immigration lawyer is that the people who seek my help to make their life legal here in the U.S. really just want one thing, they want to go home.
They want to see the mother they left behind as a young adult in search of something "out there." They want to see the child they loved so much that they went searching for a better life at the expense of being together. They want to set foot back on the land they remember and re-experience the taste, the smell and the feel of the land they use to call home.
They appreciate and love this country for the opportunities and freedom that it affords and they truly do want to assimilate into this culture by having a driver's license, a social security number and the ability to work legally in the U.S. They want their family to come and join in this prosperity and learn about their new adopted country but that dream is not enough to stop the tears from coming.
The tears flow as they tell me about the grand plan hatched years ago that required mom or dad to go to the U.S. first and carve out a life and then send for the rest of the family. The tears continue to flow as they explain that they realize now how naïve they were to think it would be that easy to get legal and to reunite as a family in the U.S.
Weeks turned to months and then too years as the children, parents and family grew up and apart without them. Key dates were missed, baptisms, weddings, anniversaries went on without them, without their input, without their photo. Critical moments were missed where a family member could have used a helping hand during times of trial, illness and grief. They admit they could not go, they could not help, they could not be there in this time of great need and it was tearing them apart.
Now they are in my office and asking can anything be done to put them back with their family, back with the people they love. One of the reasons I enjoy what I do is that in light of such sadness, such regret and apparent helplessness the answer to such a question for the most part is YES!
Yes, something can be done, yes there is a path, and yes we can start your progress back to your family and home. It is not always easy and at times carries risks that must be weighed but there is usually something that can be done.
With the changes to the law regarding the death of a petitioner that may allow the petition to continue towards permanent residency despite the passing of a parent or spouse, something can be done.
With the easing of attitude at the Immigration Service on requests for joint motions to reopen a person previously deported may be able to reopen a deportation hearing and have the case terminated so something can be done.
If you have lived in the U.S. prior to December 2000 and someone or some company filed immigration papers on your behalf before April 30, 2001 and nothing ever came of it something can be done.
If you have live here longer than 10 years, have good moral character and can prove that your removal from the U.S. would cause extreme and unbearable hardship to a U.S. citizen child, parent or spouse you may qualify for permanent residency, so get it done.
It can be done, people can change their fate and start now towards a life that is legal and permanent in the U.S. that also allows loved ones so long ago separated to come and live with you or, if you prefer, for you to go home.