The Perspective of a First-Time Voter

After years of statelessness, asylee and friend of Benach Collopy LLP, Sonya Kay (alias), kindly shares her thoughts and memories from her first time voting as a United States citizen: “I think I will remember the day I became a U.S. citizen, October 21, 2010, for the rest of my life.  I will remember that lump in my throat, tears pouring down my face when I took the oath of allegiance, the thought that I could apply for jobs that I couldn’t before, that I would finally be able to travel to the country that I came from–and the hope that I might not have to go through secondary inspection at the airport after visiting my siblings or friends in Europe–and that I would finally be able to participate in presidential elections in this country.

No more “Comprehensive Immigration Reform,” but “Common Sense Immigration Reforms.”

As the prospects of serious immigration reform have exploded over the past week, we propose a change to how advocates of immigration reform call it.  For years, we have called it comprehensive immigration reform (CIR).  This formulation has gotten us nothing.  Why is that?  Perhaps it is because very few people, not steeped in the legal mumbo-jumbo of immigration, have any idea what it means.  It sounds complex and challenging and like something designed by the social engineers to radically change America. 

Meet a DREAMer- Roxana and Silvana Bedia

Meet a DREAMer- Roxana and Silvana Bedia We are starting a new series here at Benach Collopy to introduce our readers to some of our clients who have sought and obtained Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) benefits.  We profile these extraordinary young people who make up our community, contribute to its richness and have exemplary talents to offer to demonstrate the many good reasons to support the DREAM Act and common sense immigration reform.

I Can See Maryland from My House

As Hurricane Sandy crawls through the Washington, DC area, and the kids clamor for yet another game of Who Shook Hook?, now seems as good a time as any to prepare a thoughtful post on the Maryland Dream Act.  As a Washington DC resident, I don’t get a vote in Maryland even though, to paraphrase the former Alaskan governor, “I can see Maryland from my house.”  Of course, that has never stooped us from having an opinion and I hope that all of my Maryland friends support Question 4, the so-called Maryland Dream Act next Tuesday.

Re-Connecting with Dariusz Gilman

Re-Connecting with Dariusz Gilman Every Tuesday, my children’s school publishes a newsletter that includes a number of advertisers.  Tutors, babysitters, coaches all advertise to the parents of the schoolchildren.  Last week, I noticed a different ad from all the others.  Fencing was being offered and I was happy to see that the coach offering fencing was my old client, Dariusz Gilman.  I represented Dariusz a long time ago and was delighted to see that he has opened up his own fencing school in Silver Spring, Maryland, Dariusz Gilman Sabre Fencing

Oh No, he didn’t! Romney endorses anti-immigrant wingnut Steve King.

  On Friday, Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney endorsed Steve King (R-IA) for another term in Congress.  King, who once compared selecting immigrants to dog breeding, represents the worst of nativist sentiment and  Romney’s solicitation of the know-nothing wing of his party makes a mockery of any analysis that indicates that demographics demand that Romney move off his “self-deportation” stance in the primary toward the more humane and comprehensive approach to immigration reform.


Citizenship Last night, the President spoke to the Democratic National Convention about those characteristics that define what it means to be a citizen.  It is a word that gets used quite a bit.  But, like freedom, love, and beauty, it is a quality that can not be physically embraced, but exists entirely independently in our hearts and minds.  U.S. citizenship is not based upon ethnic origin, religion, political opinion, gender, sexual orientation,  or any other characteristic. 

Meet Sandra Arboleda

Meet Sandra Arboleda Benach Collopy is starting a new series to introduce our friends to our staff.  While lawyers claim all the glory and publicity, the reality is everything attorneys do is made possible by an amazing staff of people who care about our clients and work hard to ensure that deadlines are met, documents are filed properly, and communication always remains open.  We start this series with a portrait of Sandra Arboleda, who does so much more than answer the phones.

Oh Greta!

Today, FOBR (Friend of Benach Collopy) Erich Straub wrote a strong response to the nonsense spouted by Fox News talking head Greta Van Susteren, who waded into water over her head when she penned an op-ed stating that lawyers who helped DREAMers file applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) were committing malpractice because the program was temporary and lawyers were doing the equivalent of turning their clients into the government authorities for removal. 

High Stakes for Seasonal Stablehands

Horse racing fans held their breath this week over potential triumph and disaster – I’ll Have Another was poised to take the Belmont Stakes on Saturday to become the first Triple Crown champion since 1978, but the local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers , the union that represents 280 members at Belmont Park racetrack, including the starters who set the horses running when the gates open, was poised to shut down the race by striking over a contract battle with the New York Racing Association: no starters, no race.