The Irish Weren’t ‘Illegals’
And You Aren’t Either
I’ve said it before: This is a nation of immigrants. We are reminded of that every March when Americans celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday dedicated to Ireland and the many people of Irish descent around the world. My husband is one of those people. Decades ago, his family came to America looking for opportunity and shelter, the same reasons that people arrive at our borders today. And just like the Irish, modern immigrants are destined to become part of the fabric that makes up our country. When they came to America, the Irish brought a reputation for being lucky: “the luck of the Irish.” As a result, St. Patrick’s Day is supposed to be a lucky one. Does it feel that way this year? For me, the answer is “yes.” We may be challenged in some ways, but in other ways, we’re very lucky. The inauguration of President Biden is very lucky for immigrants and those who support them, and his new administration has already shown that immigration reform is going to be a top priority. Instead of cruelty, we’re finally seeing kindness and compassion at the top levels of government. We might see some serious change this year, and that would be lucky indeed. One change that I would love to see is the removal of the word “alien” from all immigration laws, something the new administration has considered. It might not seem important, but as a lawyer, I know that language matters a lot. People aren’t “aliens” — they’re human beings. Some of them aren’t citizens, but in that case, we should call them “non-citizens.” It’s more specific, and it’s kinder. It doesn’t put people into categories of “us” and “them.” Another word I would like to go away is “illegals” or “illegal immigrants.” It is a hostile way to describe someone, as if their very existence is against the law. To make things worse, it’s only applied to people from south of the border — the Irish immigrants
may have been called “aliens,” but they were never “illegals,” whether they entered our country lawfully or not. It breaks my heart when a non-citizen comes in and says, “I’m an illegal” because this term has become common in all of society. You may have used this word to describe yourself. When someone says, “I’m an illegal,” I always say, “You don’t have to say it like that, but there are many ways to describe your situation.” And then I show them some of the other ways they could refer to themselves. Of course, you can say, “I’m a non-citizen,” which will (hopefully) be the new legal term. But what about, “I’m a future resident,” or, “I don’t have a green card — yet.” And soon, “I’m a future citizen.” When you say it like that, you’re saying that there is a place in America for you, a place that you will reach. This brings me back to luck because when you reach that place, you’ll feel lucky. You may already feel lucky just to be here. But America is lucky too: Like a coat of many colors, immigrants make our country strong.
If you’ve called yourself an “illegal” in the past, it’s okay. But the question is, are you ready to stop being an “illegal” and start being a future American resident? Because that is what we’re here to help you accomplish.
Team Member Spotlight Victor Paxtian
Get Your Seasonal Allergies Before They Get You! Spring brings with it many wonderful things, like longer days, picturesque scenery, and spring break, but right alongside those good things is something most people suffer from: allergies. While beautiful, the blooming trees and flowers make you want to stay away from the great outdoors for fear of nonstop sneezing or puffy, watery eyes. If you suffer from allergies caused by pollen, grass, or other spring plants, take these steps to breathe a little easier. When outside, avoid walking through areas with weeds, shrubbery, or lots of trees as much as possible. Grass and weeds are notably problematic. The slightest breeze can send particles flying through the air in the blink of an eye. When you walk through grassy areas, pollen will get on you, your clothes, and your hair. It’s best to stick to trails, sidewalks, and other paved areas. If you do find yourself inundated with pollen or other allergens, your next best bet is to establish an at-home decontamination protocol. Take your shoes off at the door and make sure your clothes don’t come in contact with soft surfaces such as carpet, upholstery, or bedding. Take care to wash your “pollinated” clothes as soon as possible and wash your sheets and pillowcases weekly. Next, head for the shower. The sooner you can wash away the allergens, the better. Finally, don’t forget to replace the air filter in your home’s air system in the spring. Consider using an air filter designed to capture allergens. If your allergies are particularly troublesome, invest in a dedicated air filtration system or unit. While you can opt for portable, stand-alone air purifiers, there are larger systems that can be incorporated into your heating and air system that keep your entire home’s air free from most, if not all, common allergens.
Few people can claim to have been attorneys in more than one country; after all, no matter where you want to practice law, it usually takes years of work and schooling, and few countries are willing to credit out-of-country education because the laws are so different. But Victor Paxtian is one of those few! “I was in Mexico City, working as a lawyer and helping people come to the United States — and now I’m in the U.S. and helping people stay here,” he says. “But no matter where I am, I’m just happy to be able to help people. Everybody needs a new beginning sometimes.” Victor’s own new beginning gives him a lot in common with many of his clients. “There’s a culture difference, coming to America,” Victor says. “And as a lawyer, the bureaucracy here isn’t as bad. But the biggest change is that people here have access to technology more regularly — they can get documents or forms almost immediately.” It’s something that Victor wishes had been more available in Mexico City when he worked there. Victor was originally born in Veracruz — “North America’s oldest city,” he’s quick to point out. “But my favorite city in the world is New York,” he adds. “People who think they’re rushing all the time in New York should see Mexico City! As you can tell, I love to travel, and I also love to play tennis. I haven’t been able to do much of either lately!” We hope that Victor gets a chance to travel again soon, and we’re so grateful for his hard work. Be sure to check this space next month for another attorney interview: the wonderful Lauren Barker Hachad!
New Frontier Client Spotlight: Araceli
For New Frontier client Araceli, life in the United States didn’t start out in a good way. “I actually know Hillary in part because of an attorney, Adam, who helped me when I was detained in Eloy, Arizona.” Like many who come here from her home country of Mexico, Araceli found herself imprisoned in one of the same detention centers that regularly made headlines in the last four years. Worried about the cost and difficulty of a 9th Circuit case, Araceli needed help. And that’s when Adam, the attorney helping her, “mentioned that he had a friend who might be able to take my case.” As you can guess, that friend was our own founding attorney Hillary Walsh, and that’s how Araceli ended up becoming a New Frontier client!
It became clear that, as with many of our clients, Araceli probably met the requirements for an asylum case, as well as a U Visa case. “Hillary helped me with both,” Araceli says. Often, we find it’s best to pursue multiple avenues for a client in case one option or another doesn’t work out. This was Araceli’s situation. Years later, her life is much more stable, and that’s common for our clients, as well. We don’t want anybody living in fear or with a weight hanging overhead. It’s not fair to have to live that way, and it makes it hard to progress forward. Araceli has made progress. “I was able to take back my two oldest children from my mother,” she says. “Things have really calmed down, and now I’m focusing on my work permit — all thanks to attorney Hillary!”
“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘ I ’m possible! ’” – Audrey Hepburn
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PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
550 W. Portland St. Phoenix, AZ 85003
You’re Not an ‘Illegal’
Get Your Seasonal Allergies Before They Get You! Spotlight on Victor Paxtian
Client Spotlight: Araceli
The Best Cleaning Tool Can Be Found in Your Kitchen
Scrub the Microwave When Life Gives You Lemons ...
Lemons don’t just add a tart flavor to your favorite desserts or cool you down in a refreshing drink on a hot summer day. In addition to bold
As for your kitchen tools, don’t toss them out without trying this lemon trick first. Start by sprinkling salt on a wooden cutting board, then slice a lemon in half. Using half the lemon (flesh- side down) like a sponge, scrub the board really well. Wipe and remove the leftover lemon juice and rinse the board before using it again. Not only will the board appear cleaner, but it also won’t smell as bad, and the bacteria will be gone. You can also use this method to polish dining ware, spruce up copper, and even remove stuck-on food from plates. Now, here’s the real secret: Once you master kitchen cleaning a la lemon, you can use these same principles to clean other parts of your house. For example, salt and lemon can be used to scrub grimy sinks and faucets, while a few squeezes of lemon juice in a cup of water makes an excellent cleaning solution for mirrors and windows. You can even make your own reusable cleaning spray by fermenting lemon peels — and the peels of other citrus fruits — in white vinegar for two weeks. Remove the peels after two weeks and spritz the mixture over surfaces you need to clean!
flavors, lemons also have powerful cleaning properties. Their acidity
and oils cut through grease and can sanitize many of your household items.
The best place to clean with a lemon is in the kitchen. For the microwave, simply juice a whole lemon into a bowl of water, then plop the used peels into the bowl. Microwave the mixture for a few minutes, let the bowl cool before removing it, then wipe away the grease in the microwave. You can also use this method for your oven. For odor-blocking properties, you can use a lemon as an air freshener. Leave half of a lemon in your refrigerator to trap and block potential smells and toss old lemon rinds down the garbage disposal. Run the disposal to clean the blades and freshen up the sink.
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