Legalization: The perfect Christmas gift!

IMMIGRATION CORNER - Michael J. Gurfinkel - The Philippine Star

As we approach yet another Christmas, Filipinos around the world are cheerful and excited over the joy and memories the holiday season brings. There are family gatherings, including Noche Buena, where the family gathers on Christmas Eve, sometimes everyone dressed in pajamas, to open their presents at midnight. On Christmas Day, they may gather yet again, spending hours together eating, laughing, telling stories and reminiscing about past joyous occasions.

Filipinos outside the Philippines recall their Christmases back home, with the parols, lights and music, which they just cannot seem to experience anywhere outside the Philippines.

But for many Filipinos, the holiday season, while being joyful, is also a time of extreme loneliness and sadness. Because of their US immigration status, they cannot travel back to the Philippines, and if they have family (such as children) back in the Philippines, it could have been years since they have last seen them, other than on FaceTime, Viber or Facebook. They may pack balikbayan boxes with Christmas gifts to be sent back home, but they are sealed with their tears. They will not be there to see the joy of their family receiving those gifts, or to tuck their child in bed, watch them grow, go to their graduation, etc. That’s the pain that people go through if they’re out of status.

But the holiday season is a time of miracles. Maybe, by some miracle, there could be a way by which you could legalize your status. I have had people consult with me in seemingly hopeless situations, sometimes after being told by other attorneys that there’s nothing that could be done, but somehow we found a way.

However, I want to be perfectly clear: Neither I nor any attorney can “guarantee” success or results. Maybe nothing can be done right now on a person’s case, and they must wait. However, maybe there could be hope.

That’s why I would recommend that if you have immigration issues, you should consult with an attorney (just like a medical checkup) to see if there could be pag-asa for your case or if there are perhaps other ways to be reunited with your family back home by bringing them to the US. While Biden is still president, it would be the best time to explore options, because if Trump is reelected, he will take a much stricter position on immigration enforcement.

For myself, my family and my staff, to all Filipinos: Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon!

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WEBSITE: www.gurfinkel.com

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Four offices to serve you: Los Angeles; San Francisco; New York: Toll free number: 1-866-GURFINKEL (1-866-487-3465); Philippines: +632 88940258 or +632 88940239

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