As we begin the holiday season, I am thankful to everyone at The Finney Law Office for this opportunity to share with you a little about what my partners and I do. I’m grateful for the thorough, holistic representation the Finney Law Office provides, which occasionally includes calling me to see what I can do to help their clients. My firm practices mainly immigration law. We represent clients by filing various applications before US Citizenship & Immigration Services, seeking relief from Immigrations & Customs Enforcement, & fighting removal from the US before the Immigration Court system.
Immigration iss a hot topic this election season. Many people have opinions but not much direct experience with immigrants. From my years of working with immigrants, I can tell you how thankful my clients are for the opportunities that America affords them. For some, it’s the chance to come to the US & marry the person of their dreams, who happens to be a US citizen. For others, it’s bringing their parents from their home country, or their siblings after a very long period of separation. Some immigrants come to the US & wind up the victims of violent crimes. They’re grateful to learn that after cooperating with the police in an investigation &/or prosecution, there is a visa they can apply for which, if granted, will allow them to remain in the US. Abused immigrant spouses are thankful to learn they can apply for a visa under the Violence Against Women Act, so they don’t have to leave this country to escape their abusive US partners. Finally, clients who made perilous journeys across deserts & through strange lands are grateful when they can apply for asylum here, to attempt to escape the horrors of their homeland.
A common misconception is that immigrants to our country are a drain on our resources, & beneficiaries of the tax dollars we pay from our salaries. The truth is we owe gratitude to immigrants & their children for many of the staples of modern life. Do you keep up with colleagues on LinkedIn? Its co-founder is an immigrant. Do you search on Yahoo or Google? Both were co-founded by immigrants. Have an Apple device? Steve Jobs’ father was from Syria. Do you use Microsoft products? Its CEO is an immigrant. Shop on Amazon or eBay? Founded by immigrants. Walt Disney was the child of an immigrant. Does your teen use Instagram or Snapchat? Their co-founders are immigrants. And YouTube, without which my toddler would never have learned the joys of the “singing, moving Gummi Bears” song, was founded by two immigrants. The list goes on, including Venmo, Jawbone, Bank of America, Dropbox, and Uber. The contributions of these immigrants & immigrant families to modern technology & communication are tremendous.
USA Today has reported that at the state & local level, undocumented immigrants collectively pay $11.64 billion a year in taxes. This number would increase by an estimated $2.1 billion per year if comprehensive immigration reform granted legal status to all undocumented peoples presently in the US. And undocumented immigrants are actually ineligible for many government benefits, including food stamps & health care programs.
Looking back on the first Thanksgiving, it’s easy to feel gratitude for the assistance & welcome the Native Americans provided to the Pilgrims. Without that assistance, where would our country be? And without the contributions of countless immigrants who have been drawn to America over the last several centuries, where would our country be? I’m grateful that the answers to those questions are unknown!!