June was a crazy month in the world of immigration. From the Attorney General saying that domestic violence and gang violence generally aren’t grounds for asylum to the travel ban being allowed to continue to children being taken from their parents at the border things look worse and worse and people are understandably getting panicked, wondering what change could come next and how all of this impacts them and their family.
I’ll admit that I have moments of panic, too. I wonder what big change might be coming down next, how my job will change, how the advice I give will change. I wonder how the children detained are sleeping tonight, about how coming to the US to ask for asylum isn’t illegal and all the other things we hear on the news. But you know what? Until I’m confronted with something specific from a client, I can’t get worked up about the world at large. I’m not the world’s lawyer….I have to stay focused on the issues on my desk, not those in the media.
On Saturday, I went to the Keeping Families Together rally in downtown Atlanta. It was incredible to see over 40 organizations come together to show their support for our communities and to express their disgust at how immigrants – those with and without paperwork – are being treated by our government. What was incredible to me was the diversity of those presents…we had teachers and preachers; I heard Korean, Spanish and German spoken; there were babies in strollers and elderly in wheelchairs and so many others. What brought us together was our belief that our country is headed down the wrong path with these anti-immigrant policies. Seeing so many people there gave me hope – hope that humanity and law can go hand in hand. Things will get better – maybe in November, maybe in two years, maybe in ten years.
Until that change happens, we have to keep on fighting. We can fight together by calling our elected officials and sharing our personal immigrant stories with friends and colleagues. I promise to keep fighting – maybe not on a national scale, but locally, one case at a time. Just this last week, we had an I-601A waiver granted, a fiancé visa granted, a DACA renewal granted and several work cards granted. My way of fighting back is simple – continue to zealously represent my clients and force the government to follow the laws and policies in place. So I may not be able to change the world with the stroke of a pen, but I can help to change someone’s world through thoughtful, dedicated representation.