New Frontier Immigration Law - June 2021

Why Do Immigrants Come Here? A Common Question — And a Simple Answer! Immigration opponents usually have one thing in common: They do not understand the vast privileges they have as Americans compared to the rest of the world. If they did, they wouldn’t be so quick to deny others a chance at those same opportunities and freedoms, and they certainly wouldn’t need to ask why immigrants choose to come here in the first place! We can talk at length about the civil rights that Americans enjoy: the ability to talk badly about the government, to protest in peace, and to have privacy and security in their own homes — even to move about freely from state to state. Some of these rights may not always be as secure as they should be, but compared to many other places, we have numerous protections under the law. And these rights are certainly important to the immigrants who come here. But the most important thing about coming to America for many immigrants is the opportunity to change their circumstances and those of their family — to rise in social standing and gain stability through hard, honest work. Americans do not realize how rare that is across the globe. You can come here from poverty — or be born into it — and gain not just success but also stable success that cannot easily be taken from you. You can even become a citizen, with all the rights of a natural-born American, and if family members are born here, they will be citizens automatically. In other wealthy countries, that is not possible. Although social class, race, and biases do exist in the U.S., they are not nearly as restrictive as they are in other places, especially social class. A place where people can be born into one class and move to another through hard work alone is the exception, not the rule. That makes Independence Day the most important holiday for immigrants because this country was designed to be this way from the very beginning. Our founding fathers believed that all citizens should enjoy a base level of protections and be able to rise or fall according to their skill, intelligence, and work ethic. 250 years later, we still believe that.

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at least 18,000 of them have family to sponsor them here. To get them out, they need attorneys who are willing to help, and VECINA is helping their families connect with those attorneys. Our team has dedicated two full-time people to work phones for VECINA’s initiative. Those two team members sit by the phone, which is a hotline for families to call so they can be put through to attorneys and people who can help. Our firm has also taken on a half-dozen of these cases ourselves, free of charge, to try and get these children free. And when we can do more, we will do more, until this problem is solved. The damage that happens to minors in detention cannot be overlooked, and I know that many readers have seen that. I have seen it with my clients, and I have been in a similar situation myself when I was 15. It is easy to fall into a “black hole” and lose track of time; often, the government loses track of you, and it takes weeks just for the bureaucracy to sort itself out. During that time, you are isolated from loved ones and not given the proper care you deserve. You may also be forcibly medicated with drugs that have long-lasting negative impacts on your health, and we know this is one of the many terrible things happening to unaccompanied minors in detention today. This is not a new problem, but it’s one that is getting worse. Enough is enough. One of the reasons I have grown this firm is to do things like partnering with VECINA. To have built that “muscle” and to use it for the benefit of children — who literally are this country’s future — is an amazing privilege. We have seen some positive things from the new administration; at the end of the day, they did stop using “illegal” and “alien,” just like we’d hoped. But there are tragedies happening every day at the border and in immigration detention. Until the government shows that it can flex its own muscle on those issues, we will keep using ours.

–Hillary Walsh

And that is worth celebrating.



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