Out and About
In early September we received the following note from Washington, D.C.: “I write with exciting news: President Obama will headline a roundtable in DC on Monday, September 29th, with Asian American leaders like you from across the country. In advance of a handful of extremely important Senate elections—whose results will be decided on razor-thin margins—your support, and the support of our community, is critical to ensuring that we can get things done before this President’s term is over.
“Will you be able to join us?”
How could we refuse? On September 29th, our attorneys Margaret W. Wong, our Managing Partner, and Allison Chan, who runs our Chicago office, joined other Americans of Asian American Pacific Islander heritage, both foreign born and native born, to sit in a relatively intimate setting, a “roundtable,” with the President.
Ms. Wong noted that the President comes across as very personable, and gracious, and also very focused on both the topic and its ramifications for those in the group he’s meeting with. “He knew our names, and he seemed to know, or be sensitive to our agendas. We were ‘fellow Americans,’ but we were also of a particular heritage that is a major focus for U.S. immigration policy, and future policy improvement. In considering his next steps, he’s listening to as many different viewpoints as possible.”
Our colleague Gordon Landefeld and his wife Elaine Price attended as overnight hosts at a homeless shelter at one of their churches, Fairmount Presbyterian. “Family Promise” is a national network with 162 affiliates that create local programs, but draw on a national pool of resources of homeless services research, best practices, advocacy, and governmental relations.
The local chapter grew out of two organizations, the local New Life Community, and the Cleveland chapter of Interfaith Hospitality Network. Gordon’s been hosting at IHN events for over a decade, and several years ago, Elaine joined him. Their stay at the church one night this week was bittersweet – Family Promise Cleveland has secured a permanent facility in Cleveland, so families no longer need to be shuttled to a different host church each week.
The families in this network are recipients of emergency housing and job training. For whatever reason, these families have lost their home, and need assistance to get back on their feet.
Tuesdays bilingual Spanish / English radio show, a half-hour call-in with Ms. Wong on AM 900 Nashville, Radio Luz, radio host, Viviana Milam fielded a half-dozen callers. Ms. Wong first answered a FaceBook question about a parent concerned that Downs Syndrome would make obtaining a Green Card for herself even though her her child was born in the US – they had been told in the past Down Syndrome isn’t a real condition. Ms. Wong said, “Nonsense. It would be a demonstrable hardship for the child” were the family deported, and so this would be an easy case to win.
The first caller asked if having one spouse from Guatemala and another from Mexico would make getting Green Cards difficult. Ms. Wong recalled within the past month having a case where the exact opposite was the case. She said, in fact, that while many people worry about one spouse from one country and another from another creating problems, it often improves the couple’s chances because often one of the countries will be viewed favorably under immigration laws protecting the rights of foreign borns seeking permanent residency in the United States.
A father called asking if their child could get a Green Card. Ms. Wong asked the age of the child. The answer was 20. Ms. Wong said wait a year. She said “Don’t worry. You can wait a year. Save your money – you can take care of this once your child turns twenty-one.” She said call her to plan the family’s next steps.
On Wednesday, our Congressional Representative for the 11th District in Ohio, the Honorable Marcia L. Fudge, visited our offices for a meet and greet fundraiser. Our good friends from around town joined us, including Pierre Bejjani, David Delgado, Prakash