: The Blawgraphy
Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Abogadomovil – Big Law Refugees Take the Road Less Travelled in New Practice

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution profiles three former big law refugees who left practice at King & Spalding to start up an unusual practice in Law firm takes immigration fight to streets.

When Cherokee County barred landlords from renting to illegal immigrants last year, Hernan, Taylor & Lee filed suit and got the county to back off. In July, when Gwinnett County required the companies it does business with to prove their workers are legal residents, the trio raised constitutional concerns. And when Cobb County proposed a crackdown on day laborers last month, the attorneys with the big RV successfully deflected the ordinance.

If you suspect that not everyone appreciates their efforts, you would of course be right. D.A. King, an anti-illegal immigration activist sent an Open letter to Atlanta ICE regarding Hernan Taylor & Lee and Alianza 17 de Marzo – just part of the illegal alien/open borders lobby in Georgia to a special agent at the Department of Homeland Security uring prosecution of the firm for transporting illegal aliens. Even other immigration lawyers, including Charles Kuck, an Atlanta attorney and president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, question whether the motivation of the firm is motivated more by “cash or conscience”.

I’ll leave it up to you to judge the ultimate worth of their aims. For law students, allow me to point out the following quote:

They say they make more now than if they had stayed at King & Spalding and achieved junior partner. And less than two years after moving into a new office suite off Holcomb Bridge Road, the 16-person firm has already outgrown the 3,500-square-foot space.

There’s more than one way to make a living as a lawyer. Have clients, will travel.

America’s Back Asswards Immigration Policy, Exhibit A

My general impression of America’s current immigration policy is that it’s somewhere between xenophobic sadism and Kafkaesque incompetence. Both of these instincts were confirmed by this WSJ article – A Disabled Son Imperils Family’s Immigration Hope ($), which follows the path of Zandro Souza, an immigrant from Brazil who went from dishwasher to upscale chef on Martha’s Vineyard. Appying for permanent residency, immigration officials apparently told that they would readily approve Souza and his wife, but were worried that their son might become a “public charge” in the event something should happen to them.

The Souzas’ 11-year-old son, Igor, is blind and developmentally delayed. His condition requires countless doctor visits, frequent runs to the emergency room and more than $1,000 a month in medication. Mr. Souza says he has paid almost all of Igor’s medical bills — about $20,000 annually — out of pocket, without insurance or help from government programs. He feared accepting aid would jeopardize his family’s attempt to gain permanent U.S. residency.

According to Mr. Souza, the immigration official told him that if Mr. Souza and his wife died, their son could become a “public charge.” Although the family tried to prove that Igor would be cared for if his parents passed away, the U.S. government earlier this year denied green cards to the couple and their son and placed them in deportation proceedings.

The moral argument is pretty obvious, in that it’s obviously reprehensible to all but the most senile bigot. However, this case also illustrates the economic argument for not taking such a short-sighted view of immigration. Richard Florida’s The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent lays it out in detail, building on his earlier book Rise of the Creative Class. Listen to Florida discuss his work at the 2004 PopTech Conference. Though we tend to think of immigrants as the ‘tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free’ some are better thought of as free agents. These are immigrants who on net are worth more to the society they join that what they cost, sometimes quite a bit more. Consider the potential impact of Albert Einstein staying in Austria through WWII (not to mention Oppenheimer, Fermi, Szilárd, Teller, and Wigner; see Manhattan Project). The notion of the American Dream is built on the concept that the United States is the place to go for immigrants with initiative and ambition. Or at least it was.

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