By Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza
The holidays are a time for being with family. I was reminded of that recently when I accompanied a client to his interview for his green card. When I asked him if he had plans for the holidays, his face lit up. “Oh yes” he replied, “I’m going home to be with my son and my grandchildren”. His eyes shown when he talked about the presents he was going to bring his grandchildren and how they would come running to greet him. He smiled when he talked about being able to enjoy having them sit on his lap.
I returned his smile, happy to be able to have brought such happiness to my client on the eve of the holidays. I thought about how many families travel great distances at this time of year to be together. Families feel the pull to be together at this time of the year more than at most other times. They want to share their religious observances. They want to feel united. They want to greet the new year together and share their hope that the next year will be better than the last.
Then I thought of the families who cannot be together for the holidays this year. I thought of the U.S. citizens who face a draconian choice resulting from the denial of their spouse’s waiver for using someone else’s name to come to the U.S. These people are forced to choose between separating from a loving and loved spouse in order to remain in the United States and care for an old or sick parent or leaving that parent in order to accompany their beloved spouse to her country of birth. I thought of the immigrants who made a mistake years, or even decades ago, that resulted in a criminal conviction, and are now facing removal even though they have been good and responsible citizens since they paid their debt to society. I thought of the people who have been waiting for years for the priority date on their family or employment petition to become current so that they could obtain status and live legally in the U.S. with their families. I thought of the people who went home for an immigrant visa interview and are trapped by bureaucratic red tape or incorrect interpretations of laws. I also thought of those who are living in fear of what the future will bring.
We are a nation of immigrants. We value families and recognize the benefit of family reunification. We acknowledge that those who flee their country of birth seeking refuge and safety on these shores value freedom and liberty to a degree that those born here do not always do. We understand that immigrants bring skills and a desire to improve their lives and that, in bringing that desire to fruition, they create businesses and more jobs and opportunities for other immigrants and citizens. We recognize that, while some non-citizens may occasionally misstep, the vast majority of those who come to this country are a true benefit to America and we are lucky to have them. We must work together to improve the lives of those living in this land. Reuniting families, keeping families together and ensuring opportunity for all must be the overriding priority of all immigration laws.
It has always been RMZD’s goal to help families legally live together in the United States. We are pleased that our firm has been able to help as many people as we have. However, we recognize that more needs to be done. The laws passed by Congress and the policies brought forth from the Executive Branch must reflect a recognition that this country has always benefitted by welcoming immigrants.
All of us at RMZD pledge that, in 2017, we will continue to work to help reunite families in the United States. Best wishes for a Happy, Healthy New Year for families everywhere.