As a lawyer, I not only advise clients on the fastest, cost effective path to U.S. immigration, but many times over the course of a case, it becomes necessary to help a client with matters more personal and emotional. Because U.S. immigration can be a lengthy process for many, I may meet a client while he/she is in school on F-1 student status and work with him/her through the H-1B temporary professional visa, to labor certification or NIW or EB2 and through U.S. Citizenship.
I certainly feel empathy for my clients on a personal level. I know it is not easy to leave one’s homeland and come to a completely foreign land with a new language, new culture, new people, new rules, norms and customs. It is an adventure of a lifetime and also can be lonely, frustrating, perplexing, and make one terribly homesick. Leaving what you know, what is familiar and safe for a completely uncharted path is hard. This pioneering, bold spirit adds to what makes you the best and brightest. This nation is built upon this foundation and America definitely wants you. Your innovative spirit is essential to this country’s successful economy and diverse society.
The hardships of immigrants, for hundreds of years back, make up the backbone of this great nation. Each of us has a unique story of how we got here. Some of us have chosen where to pursue a fellowship or postgraduate work or medical training. Others have had to go where they are called with little choice. Some find a town where they feel at home, where they can find people to connect and talk with – maybe in their native language, food that is a little bit similar to their hometown, a lifestyle and daily pace that is familiar. Others find themselves in a completely foreign land. That’s how diverse the U.S. truly is. Some parts homogenous, others more varied. Both settings require one to work hard to fit in.
When I first came to America, I was 8 years old. My family emigrated from Africa. We were already expatriates there from India. We lived among other expatriates from India and Europe, so I was familiar with people from other cultures. It also was not so hard to leave a place that was not our original homeland. I grew up in a part of the U.S., in the early 1980’s, that was very, very homogenous. Everyone looked and sounded the same. I learned how to outwardly assimilate in order to get along. This is called adaption, but I also grew very fond of those around me. As I grew up, I naturally became drawn to places with more diversity. We learn so much more from living with people who are different from us in every sense.
The freedom in this nation makes it possible to assimilate and also stay true to our original cultures and traditions. For some, this becomes a catch-22 and finding just the right balance is the key. If you assimilate too much, you lose your individuality and history, but if you don’t mix with others and stay only in the safety of your own group of people, you feel isolated from others around you. A happy medium is nice.
After finishing my education, I found myself working with companies, universities, and government agencies/labs trying to hire the best workers from abroad. In the same way as people, companies are much more enriched from a diverse workforce too. The geographical limitations and boundaries disappear and knowledge and expertise can flow more easily.
In the end, my experience (personal and professional) has informed me that on the inside we are all the same, want the same things, and want friendship, respect and understanding from those around us. Feel free to post and share your own unique immigration stories.
Reshma D. Parmar
Attorney at Law
I am an established business immigration attorney, licensed to practice immigration law nationally, with over 13 years of highly specialized experience working with scientists and researchers in a wide range of fields. I also work as Of Counsel, providing consulting to law firms on EB1 and EB2 matters.
Comments, suggestions or questions are welcome.
The statements in this blog are my observations based on my experience as an immigration attorney. I do not intend for them to serve as immigration advice to a reader to be relied upon, nor should they be understood or interpreted to form an attorney/client relationship.