When I used to tell people I was an immigration lawyer, I used to get responses like “I had a friend who went through that process and it was a pain” or “that must be really interesting work” or “it must be nice getting to help people.” Today it’s typically some kind of variation on “you must be stressed out” and then a tirade on the state of our politics (people who are anti-immigration usually don’t tell me and just change the subject).
It certainly has been stressful for our clients and immigration lawyers as well. But the good news is that the immigration system has proven to be amazingly resilient. First, Congress hasn’t passed any legislation to change the rules which means the Trump Administration has been constrained in how far they can go. While they’ve announced big changes, because they don’t have congressional authorization, judges have struck many proposals down. And in ordinary adjudications, immigration lawyers have gone to court and are winning – a lot. Employers have not been intimidated as evidenced by the fact that H-1B petition numbers actually are going up. And ordinary Americans have been moving more and more to embrace pro-immigration positions.
That’s not to say bad things aren’t happening. The travel ban, the separation of families, the massive increase in requests for evidence and higher denial rates, the abandonment of customer service, etc. and numerous other big and small examples abound. But what has been done so far is way less than what the Administration would like to see. So while it is a frustrating time for immigration law, things could be much worse.
In firm news, this is a momentous time for us. 25 years ago our firm was created. It was just a solo law firm for me for a few months and then Lynn Susser joined later in the year. That summer also saw the launch of visalaw.com, the first immigration law web site and one of the first for any law firm in the world. And this newsletter also launched that summer. It was the very first law firm publication in the world distributed via email. A lot of my friends and family members were scratching their heads at my decision making. I left a large firm where I was doing well to start up a solo practice with virtually no clients in a city that was not exactly known as a magnet for immigrants. And after explaining what the Internet was and why I was banking on it making my practice a success, I met with a lot of skepticism. Fortunately, I stuck to the plan and it all worked out.
And now we can look forward to the next 25 years of serving clients and advancing the practice of immigration law. Thanks are due to many – our great employees, our clients, colleagues around the world. And thank you to you, our loyal readers, as well for sticking with us these many years!
Disclaimer: This newsletter is provided as a public service and not intended to establish an attorney client relationship. Any reliance on information contained herein is taken at your own risk.