Everyday I am reminded of how blessed I am to be close to my family and friends. I am normally reminded of this throughout the day when I speak with my wife and children and when I call my parents and friends on the way home from work. Yesterday, however, I was reminded of this a bit early when I was congratulating my clients on obtaining their permanent residency after an approximate 17 year saga. They were ecstatic for two reasons. First and foremost, they were now all lawful permanent residents of the United States. Secondly, and or equal if not greater importance, they will now be able to return to the Philippines to see their parents, siblings and others that they have not seen for almost two decades.
This family, like many of you, came to the United States in an effort to earn a living, send money home but perhaps more importantly and ultimately send for their family. They, like many of us, may have experienced set backs, financial or otherwise. And, for one reason or another, they were unable to perfect their immigration status in the past 17 years. Their saga included the immigration service, the immigration court, the Board of Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, when we won the case at the appellate level, the same courts and administrative agencies were involved, just in reverse. Our clients' were tired and frustrated and of course sad, especially during past holiday seasons. This time will be different. We are thankful, amongst other things, for the opportunity to have played a part in their family's happiness.
I write today for two reasons. First and foremost, we must give thanks for the blessings that we have received throughout the year. And, while material things are always nice and we should be thankful for them, I'm not referring to those. What I am referring to is health, family and friends. We should be thankful and give praise for that. For those of you like me who have family and/or friends serving in our nation's military and law enforcement, we should give thanks and praise to them all year round, but especially during this holiday season because were it not for them, we would not be free to enjoy the things that we hold sacred.
The second reason I write today is to let you know that there is hope. While comprehensive immigration reform remains an unlikely possibility in the near future, there are possibilities worth exploring to see if there is relief that you and your family might avail themselves of. A change in the law will ultimately comes. And, whether future changes will be in the form of a guest worker bill, colloquially referred to as "amnesty" or "a path to citizenship", there will be something positive that happens. Change will happen because it has to.
The need for change was beautifully illustrated in two recent Wall Street Journal articles highlighting theories of high-technology (in the agricultural sector) replacing immigrant labor. The conclusion of the article(s) was that technology can not replace labor.
Since present "change" appears to be enforcement driven, businesses and employees alike should make themselves aware of immigration and other laws pertaining to employment of foreign nationals. Employers, should not adopt the despicable attitude of "I am helping you with immigration papers and therefore you will 'help' me" for what amounts to a slave's wage."
In short, as the year comes to an end, we've all likely had losses and gains. Use this time of Thanksgiving and the rapidly approaching year's end as an opportunity for both introspection and retrospection. How have you helped people? How have you helped your family? How have you helped yourself become a better person?
At this precious time of giving thanks and on behalf of Wilner & O'Reilly, I wish you and your families far and near, health, happiness and success. It goes without saying that we are thankful for the opportunity to have been a part of your family's future and thank you for your continued faith and support.