We shouldn’t have to March for Our Lives. We should march in bands and parades, not for our lives (or other basic human rights). Gun violence has permeated American society that we no longer ask if something horrendous will happen. Sadly, it’s become a matter of when the next one will shatter our daily routines. We expect a tally weekly, monthly, yearly. Children are scared to go to school not because of a presentation or pop quiz but because they don’t know if at the end of the day they will go home, to dance practice, or piano lessons. Schools have started active shooter trainings as if they are art or music class.
A society that doesn’t value children has essentially sentenced itself to failure. There is no future without children who can flourish in schools and beyond. The Parkland High School students organizing is the next generation of activism that is encouraging and inspiring to watch. It sparked marches all across the country, including right here in Austin. Attendees (with whom we had informal conversations) observed the passion of the youth attending the rallies and sensed that a movement that could turn into a tsunami of progress.
This the energy needed to foster permanent change through activism; however, it is activism that should never need to happen. Hopefully it will impact society such that future generations will not have to continue to march for their lives.
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
Women’s Day has been celebrated for over a 100 years now and is observed on March 8, every year. In 2018, the theme for the day is #PressforProgress. This hashtag aligns with recent social justice movements. Scandals in Hollywood erupted, inspiring #metoo, giving women a voice as reported by The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. As an Attorney, I often learn about unsung heroes,
who are making strides and living #PressforProgress with their daily actions. While most of us know of Cleopatra, Queens Elizabeth and Victoria, Margaret Thatcher, Marie Curie, and Florence Nightingale, here are stories of three modern women who inspire me:
1. Preet Didbal – First Sikh woman mayor in the US, who is also a rape survivor.
2. Kamala Devi Harris, Attorney General - First Indian-American politician in history to represent California in the Senate.
3. Asha Puthli - Indian-born singer-songwriter, producer and actress who is considered a ‘world music’ pioneer, and has recorded ten solo albums for labels like EMI, CBS/Sony, and RCA, among numerous other works.
…and some more women from History you probably haven’t heard of who have been crucial to the women’s movement globally:
4. Olympe de Gouges: in the French Revolution, declared that women were equal to men.
5. Mary Wollstonecraft: British author and philosopher, mother of modern feminism.
6. Hatshepsut: pharaoh of Egypt who took male powers for herself.
7. Isabella I of Castile and Aragon, ruler of Spain who, as a partner ruler with her husband, sponsored Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World (among other significant contributions).
8. Barbara Jordan: first Southern African American woman elected to Congress.
9. Henrietta Lacks: The Immortal Woman - The human cells used in the tests for Polio, Cancer, Cloning all come from a young African-American woman named Henrietta Lacks.
10. Amelia Bloomer: Activist and Trendsetter, she established The Lily, one of the first newspapers written, edited, and published by women. She used this vehicle to advocate for women’s clothing reform to abandon corsets, petticoats for looser tops and shorter skirts with pants underneath.
Women, all across the globe, have been challenging archaic patriarchal notions and breaking barriers.. Think of all the courageous women you know, who manage multiple roles, act as backbones of institutions whether they be family, work or community! Thank them and celebrate them this International Women’s Day.
The pathway from Green Card to United States citizenship is wrought with numerous emotions for most immigrants. For some, the journey took 15 years of waiting to get to the citizenship oath ceremony. For others, letting go of their birth country is painful and filled with tears. When clients call our offices and ask us why they should become citizens, we review beneficial reasons for applying (outlined in this article).
Ultimately the decision is the client’s to make, we do not influence their choice but educate them on the considerations. Obtaining citizenship has its benefits that include: voting, running for public office, ease of international travel, and protections not afforded under other immigration statuses.
1. Voting: One cannot make decisions about enacted policies without voting in federal and local elections, supporting people who represent their values. Voting is an essential aspect to contributing to a community.
2. Running for an Office: Running for public office is a civic duty in which our clients can partake, influencing policy that affects societal changes. A number of local and federal public offices require you to be a citizen to be eligible for candidacy.
a. Currently, U.S. citizens can travel to 166 countries either without acquiring a visa or readily acquiring one upon arrival (for a fee). Still, any of these visas will have restrictions that are important to learn about before you travel.
b. If permanent residents (green card holders) spend more than six months a year traveling (which many of our clients do mainly for family), they might not be admitted back into the U.S. and their green card may be considered “abandoned”. If this occurs, they will potentially have to start the immigration process all over again.
4. Sponsorship: Citizens have the right to sponsor immediate family members (spouses, fiancées, parents, children) for green cards. The sponsorship process is a lengthy one, so we ask our clients to plan accordingly.
5. Protection: Permanent residents are vulnerable to deportation just like undocumented immigrants, even for minor offenses. Taking a plea bargain, doing jail time, or community service is not always an option for our clients, and they are deported.
While becoming a citizen is an important part of living in this country, it is a decision that should not be taken lightly and raises a plethora of questions for our clients. Applying for citizenship has some caveats including studying for the citizenship exam, interviewing, and getting necessary medical waivers if needed. If you feel that your case may not be straightforward, it is best to consult an immigration attorney and ask, before filling out and sending in your paperwork.
The Law Offices of Pooja Sethi, PLLC takes pride in completing the citizenship process for you from your application, to studying with you for the exam, to driving you to San Antonio to your interview. If you have any questions, call Pooja Sethi at (646) 713- 8510.
Serving Clients all over the United States