Monday, April 30, 2012

Packet 4

This is kind of an offshoot from my last blog. When I was talking with George about my immigration case, I also told him about the packet three that I had prepared for my fiance about a month before his interview with the embassy in Amman. I told him about how i went all OCD on the file by compiling a binder, which I had sectioned off by each application that was needed. I had inserted a cover letter for each, and a table of contents at the beginning, so all he had to do at the interview was look at the front page and go to the designated tab. I also had all of the pictures, and copies of receipts, airline tickets, and the skype messages and call logs. He was impressed, but I knew that he still didn't get the magnitude of how amazing and organized it was. Even the interviewer in Amman was impressed, and when he was pulling out the sheets that he needed to keep he told my fiance that he felt bad for ruining the beautiful work I did. Usually people go to these interviews with a big file that has everything inside. It is usually not very organized, and hard to find what you are looking for, because the packet 4 has about 10 applications/forms in them besides the proof. anyways, when I went to Amman during spring break I took the file back from Mohammad so that I can show George, and when he saw it he told me that I will be doing that for his clients when they have to prepare the packet 4. Obviously, this made me happy because when someone recognized that my work is as awesome that it is, it just boosts my morale. I think I am good at what I do because when I am passionate about something I become so detail oriented its crazy!


A few weeks ago my fiances visa was finally approved. It was interesting because I filed everything over a year and a half ago, so it was way before I started my internship. One day I was talking with Chris about the whole thing, and I told her how it was taking unusually long. One of the other attorneys heard us talking and came over and asked me about my case. He was kind of surprised that I had filed for something in immigration, and then asked me if that was why I wanted to practice immigration law. I told him it was to an extent, and explained everything that I had done in filing his paperwork. I told them about some of the crazy things I used as proof, because when you file for a K-1 (fiance visa) or a K-3 (marriage) they need you to demonstrate the legitimacy of your relationship. I told him how initially I had a problem because we dont really talk on the phone that much so printing out my phone records wouldnt be enough, so I got the idea to take screen shots off of my skype account because i am constantly on skype, and for most people going through this stuff in this modern age technology is the way to go. He told me that alot of his clients had the same issue, and he never thought to take screen shots. I showed him how to do it and he was pretty happy. Hey, maybe I made the difference between a yes or a no for an applicant. I was pretty happy, because it made me feel like I really knew what I was doing.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

N. Korean refugees

Recently I met an exchange student who told me he is Korean. My friend who was standing with me asked if he was from North or South Korea, we all laughed at the question stating that he is obviously from south Korea. It got me thinking, so when I went to work the following Wednesday, I asked one of the attornies if it was possible for someone to come to the US from North Korea in any way. I knew that there was no way for them to immigrate directly from North Korea, as I had taken History 108 with professor Valussi. Stan told me that there are many North Koreans who flee to China in order for them to apply for Asylum to the US. On their plight if they are caught they would automatically be returned to North Korea, where they would be brutally punished, because the Chinese government is and has almost always been an ally of N Korea. Many of the refugees who had left North Korea went to South Korea, or China and live in fear every day of being caught. It is surprising thought, that there are not many in the US. The implementation of the North Korea Human Rights Act in 2004, and its re authorization in 2008, has given a new light to the North Korean plight. Although, there are very few North Korean refugees in America under Asylum, it seems as though more are to come. Most defectors go to South Korea, and many have gone to Europe. The act pushes for more North Korean immigrants to venture to the US. Unfortunately, even the few who do live in the US now have quite a hard time assimilating because of their previous backgrounds, and lack of education. It is a sad story, but I am very happy knowing that the US is stepping up and trying to help.

Dual Citizenship

The other day I was talking with one of the attorneys about Dual Citizenship. I have dual citizenship to Jordan and the US, even though I was born in the US. He was telling me that in order for me to ever work in a government position (which he knows is my main goal) I would have to renounce my other citizenship. At first I was confused as to why that was necessary, but he explained that working in the government requires complete allegiance to the US because if some political conflict between either country occurred, those who govern us have to automatically stand by the nation. This is obvious, but it was something that I had never thought about before. I began to wonder what I would do if something like this were to occur. Would I support the US or Jordan? Obviously I would support the US because I was born and raised here, and my moral being is derived from American principles. But would I be able to renounce my other citizenship? I love Jordan, and it is such a great part of my life. I would definitely stand with my country, but I would be very upset if I had to renounce my citizenship. Also, I have a home overseas, and my father has other assets there as well. By renouncing my citizenship I would lose access to all of that. I understand why allegiance to the US is important, but it bothers me knowing that one day I may have to choose between the two.

Pledge of Allegience

A lot of times when people are waiting to see an attorney that have to wait quite a while, many of them tell me their immigration stories while waiting. I think that it is so interesting to see the different experiences people have in the US in comparison to their native country. One story I found quite interesting was a girl who had come here at the age of three with her family and illegally remained in the US. In a sense she was raised in the US, went to school here, all of her friends were here, and she did not even speak her native language. After she was caught by immigration, they threatened to deport her, but it seems quite unfair because she was an American. Every morning in school she recited the pledge of allegiance, she knew the star spangled banner by heart, she knew the history of the country, and was raised American just as any other child in the US is. It kind of baffled me to even think about being forced to leave the US by force, because I identify myself as an American, just as she does. Cases such as these are so difficult, because it was not the girls fault. So I asked myself what constitutes an American? Is it their passport or their allegiance? I believe that it is their allegiance, but the other side is also very important, but by no means the sole way to be labelled as an American... Just something to think about!

Refugee Status

Recently, I was talking with the main woman of the office named Chris, who is a paralegal, but also the livelihood of the entire office. She was telling me about Immigration for refugees and how it is very different from the typical means of immigration. The conversation came up after I was telling her about one of my friends who came here from Syria (he was actually Iraqi though). He told me the story of how Shia radicals were killing off many Sunni men in Iraq, and he was friends with a shia man who knew of a list of names of people the radicals were going to capture and kill that day. His friend had called him while he was at university and told him that his name was on the list, so my friend in fear of his life was forced to immediately catch a bus to Syria, without even preparing a bag for himself. Later, he finished university in Syria and came to the US as a refugee. Issues of Asylum are very important in immigration, because America is often seen as a safe haven for people who fear for their lives due to the political situation of their government, or uncontrolled radicals in the country. It is interesting to see how our government helps these people upon their arrival. Many of them receive public welfare upon their arrival. Interestingly, other immigrants have to file affidavits of support with their visa applications to show that they will not be on public welfare upon their arrival. I obviously understand why, and think that our government does well to those in need of asylum. 

the George Brief

The other day I was sitting with George (one of the attorneys) and we were discussing how he prepared court briefs. I asked him a few questions, because George is ALWAYS on edge when he has a briefing due, so I asked him if there was any way that I could help him out. He told me that he wishes I could but at this point briefs are way above my legal ability, plus he said that it would bore the hell out of me. He explained how he has to articulate every aspect of his clients case, and why they are correct. The task is quite difficult, and time consuming especially because of the formality of the documents. He was telling me that if he made one mistake then the case could be jeopardized, so he has to be as close to perfect as possible. He showed me a few briefs that he had completed already, and they were bigger than most textbooks that I have seen. Honestly I felt pretty bad for him, and jokingly told him that he needs to get a paralegal because these briefs were going to be the death of him. He laughed, and told me that it cant all be fun, and that research is key to getting what you want so it is worth it in the end.