Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all enjoy this holiday season. Like most of you, I will be spending Christmas with family and friends. But come the New Year, I will be spending a week with complete strangers. Here’s my story:
I will be a volunteer lawyer on a week-long assignment in an immigrant detention center near the Texas-Mexico border. I will be helping asylum seekers advance their claims. I will help them present evidence that they have a credible or reasonable fear of returning home because their safety or lives are threatened there. The fear cannot be simply economic. It has to be a fear of persecution based on their ethnicity, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
It’s not an easy claim to win. As anyone who follows the news knows, our borders are now crowded with refugees, mostly from Central America. Some politicians have painted these refugees as evil. Although there may be a criminal here and there in the group, the vast majority of refugees consist of simple, poor, and desperate families seeking safe harbor. And unfortunately for them, most of their asylum claims will fall on deaf ears. Their “reasonable fear” of returning home will not fit within the narrow confines of asylum law.
Still, a significant number of them will have legitimate asylum claims. Under both international and US law, they have a right to seek – and obtain – asylum. And I want to help make sure they get it.
On this Christmas Eve, when Jesus’ mother and father were themselves seeking shelter on a dangerous journey, let me leave you with some biblical quotes about immigrants:
“And you are to love the foreigner, because you too were a foreigner in Egypt”. Deuteronomy 10:19
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it”. Hebrews 13:2
“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”. Leviticus 19:33
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me”. Matthew 25:35
“Love thy neighbor as thyself”. Matthew 22:39
Merry Christmas everyone form the entire Michaels & Smolak team!
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.