My wife Amany came to the United States when she was seven years old. The year was 1979 and she came all the way from Egypt to Chicago. Imagine her surprise when she landed in the middle of the Great Chicago Blizzard. From sand to snow in less than 24 hours.
I met Amany at Saint Louis University Law School. After law school, I initially practiced commercial litigation. Later, I represented shipping and insurance companies regarding accidents on the Mississippi River. I enjoyed maritime work. I had many people asking me to assist them with immigration cases. I turned down a lot of these cases. As people continued to try and get me to take their case, I kept turning them down and tried to refer them to immigration attorneys in the St. Louis area. St. Louis has several fine immigration attorneys. But when I called these attorneys, they often told me they were too busy to take on new matters. I thought this would be a good problem to have.
I let the idea of practicing immigration law percolate in my brain for a few years. I eventually grew a little tired and a little jaded defending insurance companies and working to help the insurance companies save money. I decided to make a move. Although I was a partner with two great attorneys (and human beings), I decided to hang out my own shingle. My practice would be devoted to representing injured people against the insurance companies. I also wanted to start practicing immigration law.
I formed a loose association with an experienced immigration attorney to make sure that I was handling my client’s cases properly. We opened the Hacking Law Practice, LLC, in January of 2008. I have enjoyed my time representing immigrants and defending their rights. I have seen the vitriol and hatred of immigrants displayed by certain uneducated segments of our community. Here are some of the reasons that I enjoy my job so much:
- At the end of most days, I leave my office knowing that we helped somebody. We may have helped them obtain a green card, become a U.S. citizen or overcome a long delay at USCIS. It feels good to help people. It certainly feels better than helping an insurance company hold on to their money.
- Immigration is frequently a zero-sum games. Either you win or you lose. That raises the stakes a bit.
- With our deportation practice and in handling cases of immigration delay, I get to put my 14 years of experience as a litigator to good use. Brief writing, arguing and developing compelling cases – these are the best things we do here.
- I have met countless number of really interesting people. Some of the stories that you hear in the immigration context are amazing. The things that people have done to get to this country and to try and stay in this country are sometimes mind-boggling.
Whenever I speak to “the public” about immigration, I say that immigration is the civil rights issue of our time. And, I wholeheartedly believe that. The government makes immigration significantly more complicated than it needs to be. Right wing idealogues demonize immigrants on a regular basis. Unscrupulous attorneys take advantage of undocumented immigrants just to try and save a few bucks.
The work we do is intended – in some small way – to shed light on the way things really work in the United States. I love our country, with all of its flaws, but I am realistic and honest about those flaws. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the immigrant is the greatest way that I know of to pay back this country for all of the tremendous blessings that have been bestowed upon me.