On Thursday, September 4, 2014, the U.S. court appealed for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, with the hopes of providing and continuing training to lawyers in order to better assist them in the representation of immigrants. During the training, Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, took the stage in front of nearly 25 attorneys, and other members who represent the Immigrant Justice Corps.
The goal of this group meeting was to address the lack of representation for immigrants who are facing deportation and/or other legal issues in the U.S. Naturally, Sotomayor stated that the current immigration system does not “meet the needs” of the American society, and continued by mentioning that if immigrants have legal representation, the odds of them entering and remaining in the United States fall in their favor.
This comment was made in the hopes of inspiring immigration attorneys as well as reminding them of the lives they are changing daily. She also added that many immigrants enter the United States through Asylum, as well as the illegal hiring and employment of illegal aliens. Since there is a demand for the work, the illegal aliens come to take the jobs. She reiterated, that illegal aliens, or undocumented immigrants rather, are not bad people.
With that said, a few members within the group of attorneys rose to their feet and began telling their stories of how they came to be immigration lawyers, when they were forced to flee their countries due to persecution. The lack of knowledgeable legal representation inspired them to become immigration attorneys so they could better help immigrants like them survive in U.S. society.
Among the attorneys was a group of young college graduates, three of which were undocumented immigrants, who mentioned that if they had not qualified for deportation deferrals that included work permits they wouldn’t be able to work at all. Another student mentioned that because of her status she could not qualify for any scholarships for school. Both are situations that immigration attorneys can help guide and possibly resolve.
Many found Sotomayor’s appearance and conversation to be motivating. She spoke of the aspects of immigration that concerned her, the changes that are gradually occurring and what is and should be expected and desired. She reminded everyone that, “Immigrants were being hoodwinked, sometimes by their own people…” For this reason alone, legal representation can be of the utmost importance when attempting to understand the U.S. immigration laws and policies or obtain, and maintain a legal immigration status.