Thank you to all my clients (and staff!) over the years. I owe my successes to you!
In November 2013, I opened my small immigration law boutique in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. It wasn't only small in the sense of being a solo with no staff, but I had only a small office, and a borrowed desk and printer to my name. The borrowed printer quit working on me within the first month or two and I bought one of my own. In time, I bought my own desk and furniture set. In my first entire year of business I had only about a "bakers-dozen" clients. It was tough getting started, balancing the cost of overhead and advertising with such little income. Somehow that first year I came out a little bit ahead.
By year two my number of clients had doubled. By year three I went from renting just the front room of a basement office space, to renting the whole unit, and renting my own copy machine. I hired employees and interns, and each year I grew a little more. But most of all what marked my success was the rapport with my clients and their satisfaction. I have had the privilege to work with people from around the world who uplift my spirit.
Overseeing success in so many cases has opened my eyes to the beauty of immigration, and to what we lose by denying immigrants the right to belong. I get to hear some of the most awesome and harrowing tales of overcoming impossible odds, where the stakes are as high as they get. And on many occasions the hard discussions have to be had; to tell people that there is no answer to their problem. It's never fun to give someone a hard pill to swallow, to tell them that they may never see their loved one again, but nicety and false reassurances bring only grief in the end.
Over the last (nearly) seven years, one value that highlights the success in my practice is honesty; the honesty of my clients and the honesty of our work. I get to help some of the most wonderful, honest-to-goodness people who I have ever met obtain "rights and benefits" in the U.S.-- things that the vast majority of us take for granted like driving, working, getting a bank account, going to college, and living without looking over your shoulder every day, with the risk of being physically yanked from the life you live. It's hard for many of us to grasp what it feels like to live undocumented (sometimes for decades on end, or for all of the life you recall since you were a child), and how amazing it feels when all of that grief is just suddenly lifted away by the success of your case; a work card, your green card, or citizenship.
My clients and my work have shown me that it truly is a gift to live in the USA with the rights and benefits to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. And our communities are blessed by the gifts that foreign nationals bring - strong values, new talents. New foods, perspectives, languages, culture and music. Good neighbors, new friends, and great employees. All of these things make my clients some of the most upstanding people who I have ever met. They make my work gratifying and very special.