I have heard this joke so many times by now, I expect it after I tell people that I do not have a “green card”. They almost instantly say “You get people their green cards, and YOU DON’T HAVE ONE”, and they start laughing. I do admit, it is funny that after fourteen years in this county (I am sure my mother will say that it has been longer), I should have done what everyone else does to get my permanent residency in the United States: get married and settle down. I am sorry to report that I have tried this before, and it does not always work (for hints see my previous post on VAWA). No one should be prohibited from immigrating to the “Land of the Free”, but we should do legally. Additionally, we all agree that reform is needed, but reform that would split families, is un-American. Reform also does not mean allowing people who violated the law to get off without penalties. After all, we lawyers, have sworn to uphold the law and the constitution of the United States.
We all agree that criminals should be deported, after a fair hearing, that comports to the rule of law. many of us practitioners know, the process to deport immigrants is neither fair or humane. I could tell you horror stories that would not have happened in other courts. The fact remains however, that we represent people in immigration courts, and unfortunately, even lawyers belittle our role sometimes. I know that I defend someone’s American dream every day, and I am damn proud of it.
I do have to admit that the United States is losing the race when it comes to attracting quality immigrants. During the cold war, and the law is still on the books actually, we attracted many Soviet nuclear scientists by the promise that they will get to stay in the United States. Maybe it is time for us to start that again. For all who oppose reform I say this, even this lawyer, who is legal, is afraid of returning home to see his family, because he does not know what that officer at the consulate would do if he did not like my appearance that day.
P.S. I hold an H1B visa, and my employer is working on getting my lawful permanent residency.