Immigration to the United States is a difficult journey with many obstacles to overcome. Yet … [+]
Let’s take a brief look at the immigrant journey, beginning overseas and ending with U.S. citizenship, and the challenge immigrants face along the way.
The Average Immigrant
Take an average immigrant. What does he or she want? Maybe they are unhappy because they do not feel safe where they live. Too much lawlessness, perhaps. Maybe the environment is unhealthy – too much pollution. Maybe they lead a hard, frenetic, dog-eat-dog lifestyle, just trying to survive. Maybe their children don’t have much of a future. In short, they want a better life for themselves and their family. A future full of promise and opportunities for their children.
But desire alone is not enough. American immigration policy is designed to attract those with an education, those with special skills, those with money to invest, those with new entrepreneurial ideas and those who have family members here. Also, some immigrants, if they are legitimately escaping persecution, have a chance. But if the would-be immigrant has nothing to offer America, other than a naked desire to live here, even when coupled with a willingness to work hard – that’s not enough. We are talking here about would-be immigrants who can meet America’s admission criteria and who want to follow the rules to help make America a better society.
Their first challenge is persuading an immigration officer that the would-be immigrant’s skills or resources could benefit America. The official must follow the laws, regulations and work with the bureaucracy to decide the fate of this family. There is also the matter of the mood of the current administration and the public in general towards immigrants that influences U.S. immigration policy from time to time. The official needs to be persuaded. That is the objective challenge prospective immigrants must overcome. Even assuming the applicant can meet that challenge, however, that is not all.
There are also subjective challenges to deal with.
The immigrant somehow has to deal with the cost. Not just the cost of setting up life in a new land, but the cost of advisors as well as the cost of government filing and processing fees. This is all expensive. Then there is the sheer amount of time and effort it takes to succeed. Add in the fear of running into problems along the way. Is it better not to try at all? Some clients imagine they will face harsh interrogations that will tear them apart at the border or, say, in interviews in the case of marriage and spousal visas. Then there’s the fear of looking stupid, or just not being familiar with what is wanted and why. Add to that the confusion on which steps to take, which forms to fill in, and who to talk to. For risk averse individuals, the possibility of losing everything is daunting. Can the immigrant face a rejection? Will it mean ruin for the whole family? Will all hope be lost?
Overcoming all these objective and subjective challenges is part of the process.
The Advisor And The Plan
Many immigrants who want to succeed find an advisor, usually an immigration lawyer, to help them make the journey. It is helpful to draw a few analogies here to explain how they work together.
Part of the immigration process is choosing the right route to take. This is where an immigration … [+]
In medicine, doctors say that diagnosis of a problem is half way to a cure. This is certainly true for immigration. The first step is to diagnose the immigrant’s problem – to determine what is the best way to tackle it. In a way, immigration programs are like blinking lights on Christmas trees. Some are open and some are closed. Not every program is available all the time. It all looks so good and easy, but it’s not. You need to apply when the light is on, so to speak. Immigration professionals know when the light is on. To draw another analogy, if you are mining for gold, you have not only to know how to dig, you also need to know where to dig. The same is true for immigration. You have not only to know how to prepare an application, you have to know where to apply.
So the immigration lawyer’s value is in knowing what roads to take and which to avoid. They are experienced. What is experience? It is having traveled the road before and made the mistakes and learned from them. Along the way you usually learn to admire those who take the journey and maybe even empathize with them. That is what the immigrant is paying for when hiring a good immigration lawyer. True, they may have fears. But that’s just when they should not forget about their family’s safety, well-being and prosperity. Why not move ahead? Why not leave behind that frenetic, overcrowded, competitive struggle for survival behind? Why not move forward and enter a better life – one of comfort, health, peace, and prosperity? Why not help their children access the best schools and get their family the best medical facilities and medications available? In short, why not improve their life through immigration?
The immigrant journey to America eventually ends with U.S. citizenship. It is a long road to travel … [+]
That’s the immigrant journey. Many try but only some succeed. If done properly, however, it is a worthy effort and a noble one. Despite the hurdles, legitimate immigrants know that those who try and succeed are heroes. They will have improved the lives of themselves, their family members and even their descendants, forever. That is quite an accomplishment! And their story is the source of inspiration for all the others who dream about immigrating and making a new life in America and becoming citizens. That thought makes all the effort seem worthwhile.