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2005-02-14 - 10:03 a.m.

Just came across this and would love to be able to attend

CLINIC is the organization a fellow St. Frances De Sales parishoner I met works for. He was an older gentleman who has been with them since the 1960s! He was excited to meet me as they have apparently had an open position for an immigration attorney they are having trouble filling. He hoped that even w/o the BAR (which he ALSO doens't have!) that his boss might be interested in me working with them from home. He is really pushing for telecommuting and hoped if they could get me in to do that it would then make a case for HIM to do the same... His agenda was clear! I expressed interest in a position which would entail being in the D.C. office two days a week. He sent me a nice e-mail, with a CC to his boss. I responded but have not heard from her or him again! Oh Well-- I was honest about Not being able to do full time at their office at this time.

I think its kind of sad his boss was apparently uninterested in me due to my limitations. Not PERSONALLY sad, but in a more general view of the whole bigger picture. (I'm just as happy to be fortunately to not have stress of work for the time being! : ) To continue to enjoy my years home with kids is a wonderful luxury! But if called to do other work that CAN co-exist with this- -I'd welcome the opportunity!) I do think that it is really sad though that in an area where there is SUCH a shortage of capable people INTERESTED, that there is not flexibility to take what help is available!

His thought was that it would be better to have my experience and expertise, than continue to have a staff of BAR certified overtaxed attorneys handling a huge and really unmanagable case load.(He could assess my knowledge in our conversation, which made him so excited he then was working to get the job description changed so as to recriuit me!)

I spent the morning keeping the girls entertained upstairs, then playing in the snow outside where I could watch them while I intermittently went back and forth to watch the documentary FARMINGVILLE. I got this at the library (WOW THe poorly funded Loudoun library actually has something worthwhile!! )
I've been too tired to stay up at night to watch it as intended.
I think it was an outstanding documentaty- and a very important one for people to see.

My whole thought on the immigration concerns is LEGALIZE all those here who CAN get H2Bs.... And all those with legitimate asylum claims.

It really seems like the one thing that both sides of this contentious issue CAN agree on is that if people are here with legal papers to work, then let them. If the TRUE complaint that t;hose who claim to NOT be racist allege that they don't resent foreigners per say, but only illegal people here, then they would support legalization! There was such fighting over a community job recruiting center for day laborors to go to get work in Farmingville, LI. My thought was-- maybe the community needs to just hire an immigration attorney to convince all the employers and illegal workers it is in their interest to work within the system- then end the polarization of those commmunities that are upset by the large #s of men congregating on corners waiting for work, who are viewed as a threat and a burden because of their illegal status with the assumption that they don't pay into a system which then takes the toll of their burdens. (THe increasing #s of people that inevitable bring more wear and tear on the community and require services like any population) Give them legal status if entitled to it, as in the end that would likely be CHEAPER than all the resources they spend on arguing and fighting about all this! Then the value of their real estate won't be dropping due to increased traffic of trucks, and increasing #s of men congregating on corners.

But in reality its not so simple an issue as that. The constuction company owners, and the landlords who benefit from the underground won't persue sponsoring employees when its not in THEIR personal financial interest to do so. Thus the Catch 22

Then there is the complexity that WHEN the business owners WANT to legalize their workers, the workers are AFRAID to enter a system!

FEAR is just such a HUGE motivator in ALL the complexities of this issue!

I really can understand the concerns of both sides of the polarized issue. The sad thing is that some citizens ARE motivated by racism and plain old fear, then it is ALSO true that there are other people with legitimate concerns that get ignored because they are then seen as aligned with those hate mongers. I feel for the moms and dad's who are trying to speak out against houses with thirty men in them, with constant traffic of trucks, when the family living across the street is grieving the loss of the peaceful neighborhood where the kids can ride bikes to friend's homes.

But then I understand the frustration of the INS officer who responded to the question "What do you suggest we do?" with the answer "MOVE"

That really made me laugh.... although its not funny at all! I anticpated the govt official's response because INS really IS POWERLESS to enforce laws at that level. There is just not enough money and support for them to focus on anything other than borders and those who have a criminal history that come here.

Gosh- of all the people complaining became either Immigration Attorneys or USCIS officers to process the paperwork or apply the law... even then it wouldn't make a dent in the magnitude of the problem.

I watched on the video workers walk away from a job offer of $7.00 per hour- indicating they'd take $10. per hour.
If the economy is really such that even illegal aliens won't take $7 per hour because they can hold out for $10 per hour- I find it hard to believe these people are really taking jobs from able bodied US citizens who would otherwise take them! The lady at our little VA post office went off at me in anger about why no one here in this small town wants immigrants here. That was in response to her inquiry about my work, when I told her that since the one local attorney here I worked with moved that until I have the BAR exam I can't do much. She however is well aware of the few locals I helped... as word of mouth travels fast. I think she knows that there was at least one person here who I assisted "PRO BONO" which I am ALLOWED to do, that was threatened with deportation. The domestic workers employer was happy to write a letter to INS on her behalf! That particular women had MARRIED a US Citizen about seven or eight years ago, so she was applying to become legally in the system-- but INS questioned what was actually a legitimate marriage! I helped navigate through INS and provide credible evidence not only of the marriage, but more importantly to INS, of the woman'd VALUE as a contibuting member of this tiny community! Why helping the wife of a US construction worker was offensive to some is really NOT understandable to me.

There is a house in the town of Lincoln where some hispanic workers live. It is clearer to me why some resent the pack of people that live there. I however think the anger should be directed at the slum lord who is so obnoxious in his lack of care for his property! From what I have seen the tenants there have made IMPROVEMENTS on the rotting eyesore that no one else would work in to make livable! (I actually looked at the building once years ago! The plumbing was not working and he was so cheap he had no intention of fixing it but wanted to RENT the place out anyway!! I looked at it for the knowledge....)

I think this area is really ripe for some of the contention that hit Farmingville. Purcellville's population has just boomed. All of Western Loudoun is rapidly changing and I won't be surprised that this will be the next issue raised by those that fear change. focus to date as been on "Smart Growth" and Zoning... all really part of the same concern: fear of change of life as we know it here in the once rural quiet area. Distubingly the KKK and other White Supremacy groups have already been recruiting in Waterford and nearby Hamilton, Va over the past year. While I don't think they received a warm welcome, I think the climate of fear of change is being honed with the arguments over zoning and development issues having been at the forefront, but I think the issues of WHO is being welcomed to live here are really a hidden agenda.

In any case, its such a tangible thing to be able to apply for a visa and have it granted and watch a former undocumented worker become a citizen. IT would be less tangible to be a pHd working in the world of acadamia. However, I have skills which are useful and rewarded in that area... and I have that one stupid limitation of the BAR exam to overcome in order to be a practitioner. So it seems silly to have my JD and not be able to use it in the practical way very well. I don't want it to be a waste... and the education of it of course would never be wasted time. I have learned alot. I however thought about graduate school once again. I have a concentration in International Law, and a number of courses on Migration Policy as well as the Immigration background. I always thought my international study was just sort of a personal hobby. Perhaps it could end up being utilized professionally more than I intended, and my U.S. immigration work as a practitioner and a volunteer with refugees could evenutually become the hobby!

Professionally, I will keep on working for that BAR exam, but at some point I'll have to look at other options. A pHd might be something for me to think about. So for now-- I can keep trying for the BAR, as I have at least a FEW MORE chances here in VA... and then there is always NY and the other states!! HA HA..... How's that for determination? But at the same time, I think its time to make a plan for other alternatives for down the road as in a few years when the kids are older, if I STILL don't have the BAR I 'd live something valuable to do! I feel too limited in the position I am in, and I'm not one to accept limitations easily.

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