SEEING AMERICA THROUGH AN IMMIGRANT'S EYES
During the past 30 years of practicing immigration law, I have helped thousands of people from all over the world find a new life in America. They have given me numerous gifts: a samovar from Iran; an amethyst pen holder from Brazil; a glass owl with beady eyes from Mexico; a statue of a bear clutching a salmon between its teeth, from Vietnamese woman from Vancouver, Canada and countless others. However, the greatest gift that my immigrant clients have given me is the ability to see America through their eyes, as a land of hope, unlimited opportunities and freedom.
No matter what country my clients come from, they all want to come to America. Not just America, but to Southern California: the Chinese to Monterey Park; the Israelis to the San Fernando Valley; the Armenians to Glendale; the Mexicans to Los Angeles and the Persians to Beverly Hills. Although they may disagree with our foreign policy, everyone all over the world wants to come and live in America.
My clients have taken great risks and endured hardship to come here. Many of my Hispanic clients have risked their lives crossing the desert or swimming across the Rio Grande River to cross the border. I have Iranian clients who were smuggled out of Iran, riding donkeys to escape.
My clients have changed me as a person. They have taught me not to take the blessing of living in America for granted. I have learned from them to appreciate our society. Only in America can someone who is born into poverty have the possibility to rise up into the middle class or even the upper class in one generation, through a combination of hard work, grit and determination, a willingness to take risks and a little luck.
From my clients, I have learned that in America, anything is possible. They have thought me that it is never too late to learn a new language; and to change careers. I have learned from them that in America, each of us has the power to create our own destiny.
Elsa from El Salvador started out as a housekeeper cleaning other people's houses, and now she owns her own home. Chaim from Israel started out as a busboy at the Beverly Hills Hotel, now he owns a home in Beverly Hills across the street from it. Nissim from Israel started out as a house painter, now he owns several apartment houses. Seeing their success has encouraged me to take risks as well.
They have helped me to appreciate our freedoms that we take for granted: the right of religious freedom to worship as we please; freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Jews fleeing from Iran have described to me the religious persecution that they had suffered. Salvadorans fleeing the civil war in El Salvador have described their political persecution.
Being an immigration lawyer, I have learned from my clients to appreciate how blessed I am to have been born and raised in America, a land where anything is possible.
- Eli Kantor
- Beverly Hills, California, United States
- Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; email@example.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The House of Representatives is holding subcommittee hearings on raising the cap on H-1B visas. Hopefully, the cap will be increasesd. Contact your elected representatives.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Beverly Hills Immigration Law - The full Senate is set to start debate on Immigration reform today. The question is which bill will be submitted to the Senate - the bill just voted out of the judiciary committee, which provides for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, including a guest worker program with a path to citizenship or Senator Frist's "enforcement only" bill. Call your Senators today and urge them to support the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that was reported out of committee.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Beverly Hills Immigration Law Yesterday, March 27, 2006, the Senate Judiciary past a comprehensive immigration reform bill, which is now being debated on the floor of the house. Call your Senators, and urge them to vote for the reform bill which provides for a "guestworker program" with a path to citizenship.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
The U.S. Senate is currently debating a major comprehensive reform of Immigration Law. One key controversial provision is for a "guest worker" program, that would allow the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants now here to legalize their status, by obtaining guest worker visas for up to 6 years. At the end of 6 years they would have a "path to citizenship" where they would be able to get a "green card" by paying a $1,000 fine, and back taxes, and passing a criminal background check. Stay tuned for the latest developments.