This month we are thrilled to recognize Milan Stankovic as our client of the month. After filing his I-589 asylum application and three evidentiary filings, several hours of grueling interviews, numerous status inquiries, and six long years of seeking protection in the United States, Milan has finally been granted asylum. Milan, previously a professional soccer player and small business owner in his home country of Serbia, fled his home in 2011 following years of brutal violence against him.
Boxes are full and stacked. Art is off the walls. Copies of the Immigration & Nationality Act from 2012 have been donated (although it is not like Congress has made many changes to the Act). Several hours of discussions with telephone providers, IT specialists, movers, and real estate professionals have all led up to this moment: we are moving out of 1333 H Street, NW as of August 30, 2017.
Just a few short months ago I was studying abroad and living in Madrid, having never lived in the United States under the new Trump administration. Every night I would watch headlines about the new administration’s policies in relation to immigration streaking across the screen and I would sigh with frustration and shame as my host family would question how I felt about everything. Earnestly, I was downtrodden and felt rather helpless and complacent in the way that I was not doing anything constructive to help the situation—I really just wanted to know what I could do.
It’s intern week at Benach Collopy! During this week, we spotlight the work that our interns have done over the summer. We show some of their personalities, their goals and the hard work that they put in for us and our clients. This summer we have had three interns and a fellow (hashtag idea!). When looking for earnest young talent, Benach Collopy draws on one of our most productive wells- Iowa.
Last week, Benach Collopy attorneys Ava Benach, Dree Collopy and Adi Nuñez traveled to New Orleans to attend the 2017 Annual Conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). As we approached New Orleans, we knew that we were flying into a storm, literally and figuratively. Tropical Storm Cindy stood menacingly off the shores, while the hurricane that has been this administration was blowing all around us.
There are moments in life when the true nature of something is revealed in the fog. Sometimes, an object will only reveal itself slowly as the fog lifts. Other times the object shines brightly cutting through the fog with its clarity. For example, as the evidence of Russian interference and espionage in the 2016 Presidential election mounts, the true nature of the Russian government is becoming increasing apparent to many in the U.S.
Our Client of the Month for March 2017 is Torng Eang, a 17-year-old boy from Cambodia who has been separated from his mother for almost his entire life. When Torng was two years old, his mother fled Cambodia in fear for her life after suffering years of abuse and violence. Following her entry to the United States, Torng’s mother sought lawful status; however, given the backlogs before USCIS and the immigration courts, it took her over 15 years to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.
Our January 2017 Client of the Month is part of our ongoing series of: “Dreamers that Trump can’t touch!” Danieca Bugarin landed in San Francisco, CA on December 30, 2016, presented her immigrant visa, and was admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident. Her admission to the U.S. as a permanent resident looked so improbable for the past two years because Danieca was snake-bit when it came to immigration.
Last week, we discussed what might happen early on in a Trump presidency. It was not our goal to sound alarmist, but early indications are that Trump is not backing down on his awful immigration ideas. His elevation of restrictionist Kris Kobach, the architect of so many terrible anti-immigrant laws and initiatives, demonstrates that Trump intends to keep his campaign promises on immigration. Based upon our assessment of what is likely to come, here are some practical tips that you can follow to prepare for the Trump administration, which takes office on January 20, 2017.
Our client of the month for September 2016 is Flora Estrada Amador, a hard-working, kind-hearted woman from Honduras who waited over 20 years to become a permanent resident (“green card” holder) of the United States. Flora first came to the United States in the mid-90s as an A-3 personal employee of a diplomat. She then received Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for Hondurans in 1999 and left her position with the diplomatic family.