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. Some overcame strict religious limitations or gender roles; others endured political persecution or crushing poverty. People came to the U.S. in cargo holds of ships, on top of trains, in the back seat of cars, on jet airplanes, across oceans and deserts. It is hard to do this work and not be amazed at the determination of the human spirit to take a chance on leaving the comfort and security of the known for the uncertain future of life as an immigrant in America.
The spirit displayed by so many of my clients has been instrumental in helping me leave behind the known and comfortable. That has not involved crossing a desert full of smugglers and snakes, but rather shedding the protective armor of masculinity that I wrapped around myself. My clients, friends, and, most importantly, my family gave me the courage to admit that I was transgender and I was ready to make the journey of transitioning to a woman. This process has brought great peace for me and has revealed so much beauty and grace from my community, my colleagues and my clients.
While so many things have changed and will change, some things will never change. This includes my law practice. Nothing gives me greater joy than helping people achieve their American dreams. There is no greater gift than coming to work with my outstanding partners and staff and working hard every day to serve our clients. Benach Collopy remains dedicated to getting our clients where they want to go and advocating for the rights and dignity of all migrants everywhere. And while many things you may find familiar about Andres Benach will be gone, I assure you that the important things will remain and grow stronger with Ava Benach.