Going into the holidays, and actually feeling caught up on work, I woke up this morning reflecting on the past year.
We’re still in a very fluid situation where we’re often up against an administration that arbitrarily invents new rules that potentially affect our clients — often rules that have no basis in law and are quickly struck down by federal courts. But despite these efforts, our clients’ cases fortunately keep getting approved: they just often take longer than they used to.
One group of particular need that our work has not often touched, however, is immigrants at the border, which is where I believe the administration’s most misguided policies are most acutely felt. We’d love to have the chance to be able to volunteer at the border at some point in the future, but the demands of a small busy law practice coupled with the demands of small children make it quite impossible to get away for a week, even for such important work.
But there has been plenty of important work to do for clients who are not in the volatile border region. This year, we have helped several clients obtain asylum from countries where they would almost certainly be persecuted. These countries span several different continents: for instance, we’ve recently had asylum victories on behalf of clients from Honduras, Nigeria, Russia, and Yemen. In each case, we’ve represented individuals who I would be proud to have as next door neighbors and as friends: wonderful people who I look forward to congratulating as U.S. citizens several years from now. I’d like to believe if even the most hardened anti-immigration Fox News viewer (well, maybe except one) spent a couple of hours with any of these clients, they would perhaps reassess, or at least soften, their hatred and xenophobia.
Another common development in 2018 that has been very fulfilling to us is seeing the very first clients we represented after the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down becoming United States citizens. In a few cases, we’ve been fortunate enough to represent these clients at each stage of their immigration journey. Often, these clients were undocumented or out of status for years, if not decades, in many cases simply because their marriages or life partnerships were not recognized by our federal government until 2013. While they should have been welcomed as U.S. citizens many years ago, we now congratulate them as fellow U.S. citizens.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading this novella, and happy holidays to all. We are thankful for having had the opportunity to work with such a diverse, interesting, and all-around wonderful group of clients, and look forward to continuing to build relationships with you and with new clients in 2019.
Alex and Kate