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Uvisa

It doesn't matter what our profession or financial situation is, everyone has the ability to change people's lives, even if it's only in small ways. At this point in my career, I really get no enjoyment out of being a lawyer. On most days, it's a real struggle to come into the office and sit at a desk all day representing big corporations in the legal world. There's no personal satisfaction, or sense of positive contribution to the world. There's one notable exception, and that's my pro bono work as an attorney. "Pro bono" simply means offering free legal services to the disadvantaged. I choose to offer free legal representation in the field of immigration, for asylum applicants and other victims of torture or abuse in their home countries. A few weeks ago, I received this shiny notification from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, granting a U-Visa to a Honduran woman I've been representing for over two years.

I can't express the joy or emotion I have each time I deliver one of these letters to a deserving client. At the meeting, tears were had by all. The U-Visa is for people who illegally enter the U.S. and then experience severe abuse while they are on U.S. soil. Almost all applicants are female. In this case, the woman entered illegally from Honduras, met another illegal who nearly beat her to death when they lived together, and then sought refuge in a local shelter, cooperating with police to get her abuser deported back to Honduras. Now, she's on the pathway to U.S. citizenship, with her children to soon follow.

Of course, the issue of illegals in the U.S. is a controversial subject, but for me the fact that someone entered illegally is irrelevant. If I believe they are a good human being and a person who will contribute positively to American society, I'll gladly take on the case if I have time. I'm especially sensitive to juvenile illegals. The next case I'm handling is two teenage boys, who fled gang violence and death threats in Central America. Risking their lives to cross the border into the U.S. alone. They are simply two boys, out of tens of thousands, who illegally cross U.S. borders, desperate to escape violence in their home countries. It's estimated that over 80,000 juveniles will illegally cross U.S. borders in 2014 alone. What happens to them once they are detained? Perhaps I'll explain this in another post.


The main point is to encourage people to volunteer in some way. At a local shelter, food bank, anything really. I can say that after all my years of working in big law firms, cases like these are the only thing that keep me going and sane...There's nothing more rewarding than having the power to transform and impact someone's life for the better.

Do you think migrants who enter Russia illegally ever deserve citizenship?

Btw, good luck to all of my readers who entered the Diversity Lottery this year! I would be so happy if one of you receive a similar letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, paving the way to U.S. citizenship for those who desire it.

Comments

( 104 comments — Leave a comment )
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seadevil001
Nov. 10th, 2014 04:16 pm (UTC)
Congrats! I think US and Russia should have borders open if people want to come in. And permanent residency should be given to anybody passing background check, for free. But with following conditions: This person will have to pay additional 10% tax for 10 years on top of local, state and federal taxes. And if she/he will want to get citizenship he/she will have to provide 1040 forms for all years in US (and in Russia appropriate tax forms). And if any employer will hire illegals under this new system company should be fined, 10X salary of those illegals over all employment time and person knowingly hired illegals should go to jail.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:06 pm (UTC)
You have a very liberal and open-minded view on permanent residency! :) But I don't understand the reasoning for requiring permanent residence to pay an extra 10% tax? Anyway, the immigration reform bills have been stalled forever and it will be even worse now that Republicans control the House of Representatives after last week's elections. I like Obama's DREAM Act for illegals, but it's going to remain dead in the water.
(no subject) - seadevil001 - Nov. 10th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
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hi_again
Nov. 10th, 2014 04:18 pm (UTC)
WHAT?? Employment Authorization for nonimmigrant status??
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
She's here legally now, but can't apply for permanent residency until three years have passed. The U-Visa allows employment authorization in the interim. This article explains the U-Visa in detail, if you're interested. https://oaklandnorth.net/2012/03/09/somewhere-to-turn-the-u-visa-a-path-to-citizenship-for-domestic-violence-victims/
pasha1980
Nov. 10th, 2014 04:28 pm (UTC)
How could she afford to pay you for the lawyer's work?
kremlin_curant
Nov. 10th, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC)
She could afford because the lawyer doesn't live in Russia. She didn't take the money at all from the poor people.
(no subject) - seadevil001 - Nov. 10th, 2014 05:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - pasha1980 - Nov. 10th, 2014 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
kremlin_curant
Nov. 10th, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC)
Most ethnic russians hate and despise migrants from poor countries as Uzbekistan or Tajikistan. They dreamed opposite way than you - remove them all from the Russia.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:11 pm (UTC)
Yes, I know. But I don't really understand this hostility, particularly for the ones who are just there to work and support their families back home. Of course, for the criminals it's a different story. And, in the U.S., if you have a criminal record you will almost never be granted any type of permanent residency visa.
I can explain - (Anonymous) - Nov. 10th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kremlin_curant - Nov. 10th, 2014 11:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Nov. 10th, 2014 04:31 pm (UTC)
>Do you think migrants who enter Russia illegally ever deserve citizenship?
No. Illegal entry is a crime. They ARE criminals, why should we grant citizenship to criminals?
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:13 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm not sure about in Russia, but some people face dire choices. They either enter the U.S. illegally, or stay in their home country and face death or a lifetime of torture and abuse. And I don't believe the U.S. should turn their back on people who were abused in their homeland, and face an almost certain death in they return there. Such people deserve freedom and the chance for a new life in America. That's why I represent them.
rider3099
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
Congratulations, Shannon! I’m proud that you are my friend!
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Olga! :) I think it's very important work to do, and you know I love my country. I'm so proud that I help others now call America their home also. I cry each time I deliver the news to someone. It's very emotional. Somehow it makes all the other crap at work seem meaningless.
valkirya77
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:53 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your success!
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 05:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Btw, I see on your Facebook page that you are part of the Russian biker community. Maybe you will find this post I wrote about U.S. bikers interesting. I wrote it a long time ago, before you subscribed to my blog. I think you and your husband will like it. :)) http://peacetraveler22.livejournal.com/22486.html
pin_gwin
Nov. 10th, 2014 06:07 pm (UTC)
I was always asking a question - What would lawyer do if she/he is seeing that he has to protect or represent a dishonest person or fake case?
An article in a local newspaper stated that DNA test in 80% of "reunited" family immigrants from Somalia does not support that the applicants are really related. Is there a situation when you can just drop the case as you see or feel it as a fake even if you can not prove it?
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 06:34 pm (UTC)
It's a very tricky situation. It has never happened to me, as I've always represented immigrants who I felt had tragic, reliable and believable stories. If I discovered they were lying to me, or trying to obtain asylum or some other Visa on fraudulent grounds, I would immediately stop representing them. An attorney can always drop a client, as long as they provide notice that he/she is no longer representing the person. The only instance where they can't do this is if it would cause severe prejudice to the client. Also, lawyers are governed by a professional code of ethics. They MUST disclose certain fraud/info to the Court. If they don't, they can risk losing their license. For instance, did you know prosecutors must disclose exculpatory evidence if they become aware of it, even if the defense lawyer has no clue it exists? This basically means they have a duty to disclose evidence that can free a defendant they are charging, even if defendant's counsel didn't discover the information on his own. Of course, prosecutors abuse this all the time.
(no subject) - pin_gwin - Nov. 10th, 2014 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 07:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
It has never happened to me... - xpo_xpo_xpo - Nov. 12th, 2014 03:58 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: It has never happened to me... - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 12th, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
a_nimaida
Nov. 10th, 2014 06:22 pm (UTC)
Do you think migrants who enter Russia illegally ever deserve citizenship? >>>>>>>>>

but why illegally if they can live illegally?
in Russia it's just
for example, you can register the migrant in his house, and three years later migrant apply for a residence permit. Two years later migrant to obtain citizenship.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 06:27 pm (UTC)
Really? I didn't know it's so easy to obtain Russian citizenship. In America, it's very difficult.
(no subject) - a_nimaida - Nov. 10th, 2014 06:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sergey_usa - Nov. 10th, 2014 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sergey_usa - Nov. 10th, 2014 08:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sergey_usa - Nov. 10th, 2014 08:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
They dont believe in KKK!!! - xpo_xpo_xpo - Nov. 12th, 2014 04:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: They dont believe in KKK!!! - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 12th, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Look, I'm not a lesbian neither! - xpo_xpo_xpo - Nov. 12th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Look, I'm not a lesbian neither! - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 12th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - el_skeletto - Dec. 14th, 2014 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 14th, 2014 06:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
sergey_usa
Nov. 10th, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
Just curious, why grant citizenship on grounds of being abused? The abused can go back to their own country, right?
peacetraveler22
Nov. 10th, 2014 08:25 pm (UTC)
Of course they can go back. But her abuser is there, and the cycle will just repeat itself. A doomed life, where she is constantly beaten and psychologically made to feel worthless. In many Central American countries, abuse is the norm. Police do absolutely nothing about it, even for women who are brave enough to try to report it. In the U.S., she has refuge and protection. Although some women simply repeat the pattern here, starting relationships with asshole men who beat them. This is a common pattern. I can't say I understand the psychology of these women who repeatedly fall in love with, and tolerate, abusive men. But I don't think she will fall into it again. At least, I hope not. All I can do is provide her with the opportunity to hopefully change her life. And I did. Everyone cannot be as brilliant as you, and enter the U.S. for a high-tech job. :))
(no subject) - sergey_usa - Nov. 10th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 10th, 2014 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Dec. 30th, 2014 11:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 30th, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - new_forester - Nov. 11th, 2014 05:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gerofudob - Nov. 10th, 2014 11:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
notabler
Nov. 10th, 2014 11:49 pm (UTC)
I 100% certain, that a vast majority of Russians will say 'No way!!!", hiding under many words pure racists views. Only Russian-born white Russian speaking people can be exempt
peacetraveler22
Nov. 11th, 2014 03:08 am (UTC)
In America, whites will soon be the minority. So, I think we are a lot more tolerant and accustomed to these immigrants. They are woven into our nation, making for a very colorful quilt of humanity. :) Personally, I love it. What a boring life it would be if we all thought and looked the same!
reon
Nov. 11th, 2014 06:06 am (UTC)
But it's strange, why your authority at first do not allow to enter and then allow it with U-visa? Such rules lead only to extent flow of illegals who want to seek their fortune...
peacetraveler22
Nov. 11th, 2014 04:21 pm (UTC)
Allow to enter? She crossed the border illegally and was immediately detained. However, immigration courts are so backlogged that it takes over a year for a trial date. In most cases, the illegals never show and stay here with the hope they will not get caught. It's very easy to obtain a fake social security card in order to qualify for low-level work. That's what they do. They are desperate to leave their homeland, and see America as their only option. Btw, it's almost impossible now to obtain "legal" U.S. citizenship from the outset. The only way to get it for certain is to marry an American, win the Green Card lottery, or work in highly skilled IT or engineering sectors, where there is still a demand for foreign workers and talent. The other options are the ones I do - asylum or certain visas for abuse or torture victims, which are very hard to qualify for.
anna_sollanna
Nov. 11th, 2014 09:12 am (UTC)
Migrants in Russia. I think the problem with them is not exactly in legality, but in their behaviour. They bring with them their savage rituals (like killing a sheep on the street in the middle of the day - and this is the mildest of them), they don't understand that they are now in another country, with different laws, and not everything that was allowed in their motherland is allowed in this new country. Furthermore they don't respect native citizens of the country where they have arrived, they think that native citizens should respect and obey their, sometimes savage, laws. This is IMHO the main problems with migrants in Russia.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 11th, 2014 04:23 pm (UTC)
Many immigrants in America also maintain their national customs, but I must admit they are not as barbaric as slaughtering a sheep on the streets. And, as you know, some people immigrate to America yet don't change their life at all. They live in Russian or Chinese neighborhoods, continue to associate only with people from those countries, and never learn English. I don't understand such people. Why do they even come here?
It's not slaughtering, it's sacrifice! - xpo_xpo_xpo - Nov. 12th, 2014 04:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anna_sollanna - Nov. 12th, 2014 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
Nov. 11th, 2014 10:59 am (UTC)
"
The U-Visa is for people who illegally enter the U.S. and then experience severe abuse while they are on U.S. soil.
"
Did not know that there is a visa type for this very specific case ... hm
Do special beating services for illegals already exist in the US ???

"
Do you think migrants who enter Russia illegally ever deserve citizenship?
"

Yes if they behave well and accept Russian culture.
For me legal issues also do not matter.
For muslims I would also require becoming an Orthodox Christian just to break the ties with their previous world.
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