It’s another rough day to be an immigration attorney in America. Yesterday, a decision was issued that seriously undermines the ability of immigrants to seek asylum in this country. The administration is continuing its war against immigrants, building its invisible wall to complement the one they want to put on the border and finding new ways to keep immigrants from coming here or from obtaining protections. A crazy thing about our immigration system it is that the Immigration Courts are entirely under the control of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Our website looks subtly different. When you visit our new offices (soon!) or open our emails, you’re greeted with a fresh, clean vibe. Today, we’re excited to unveil the new look of Benach Collopy! Why the new look? Candidly, our old look was pretty boring. While it was clean and professional, it was also a little trite and expected from a law firm. That’s simply not us.
On Saturday, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) rang in Citizenship Day in the most meaningful way: by organizing a series of legal clinics throughout the country to help many aspiring Americans apply for citizenship. Benach Collopy LLP staff – Naya Gonzalez, Patrick Taurel, and I (Lauren!)– pitched in at a clinic in Rockville, Maryland hosted by local immigrant advocacy group, CASA de Maryland.
Here I want to re-introduce myself. For seventeen years, I have had the privilege of practicing the best type of law- immigration law. I have been so lucky to get to know so many brave, hard-working, family-oriented, and generous people from all over the globe. They all shared one thing in common: a willingness to take a chance to come to the U.S. to be the person they knew they were meant to be.
This summer we have had to say farewell to one of our original team members. Since Benach Collopy opened doors on April 2, 2012, Sandra Arboleda was here ready with a fresh cup of coffee and a desire to help our clients through the challenges of U.S. immigration law. Sandra is moving on to seek an advanced degree in social work. her passion for helping people, which served us and our clients so well here, demands that she improve her education to put her talent and determination to use in the field of social work.
Mr. Antonio Caño Barranco—the Editor-in-Chief at EL PAIS, Spain’s leading newspaper—is our April client of the month. Mr. Caño Barranco came to Washington, D.C. in 2007 where he was stationed as U.S. Bureau Chief until he was designated as the Editor of the newspaper. Prior to becoming Editor, Mr. Caño Barranco started his journalism career working for EFE News Agency and joined El PAIS in 1982.
We thought we were just being polite. Turns out, we were on to something. We offer all visitors to the office a drink when they arrive. In the hot, humid DC summer, a tall glass of water is almost always eagerly accepted. In winters increasing defined by the rude arrival of a polar vortex, coffee and tea warm people’s hands and hearts. Now we learn that we are not simply being polite and hospitable, but we are engaging in a good business practice.
We are thrilled to welcome and announce the newest addition to our BR family, Elanie Cintron. Elanie has joined us in DC as an associate attorney from North Carolina by way of Brooklyn, New York (where she received countless awards and honors as a law student at Hofstra University, including the prestigious Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Fellowship) and Denver, Colorado (where she immediately set herself apart as a rising star in the immigration field as an associate attorney with powerhouse firm Lichter Immigration).
Last week, Benach Collopy began to feel normal again as attorney Rachael Petterson returned from maternity leave and Satsita Muradova joined the firm. It is really nice to have old friends close. Rachael has been on leave since late January when baby Mae Bozelli decided to make her appearance nearly two months early. Of course, earlier that week, we had just started our discussions about handling Rachael’s cases when she went on leave in April!
A couple of months ago, I got to enjoy my fifteen minutes of fame when my client became the poster child for problems caused for immigrants in immigration court by the government shutdown. I wrote a blog piece, wrote another for the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association and, next thing I know, I am speaking to Robert Siegel of NPR’s All Things Considered and people I have not heard from in decades called me to say they heard me on the radio.