September 25, 2023

By R. Mark Frey
Immigration Law & You

R. Mark Frey,
Immigration Law & You

It’s been a long winter here in Minnesota. We finally reached mid-April and found ourselves eagerly anticipating the arrival of spring, assuming winter had run its course as temperatures have slowly inched their way upward with the noticeable warbling of migratory birds and honking of geese overhead, all making their way northward. But no, not yet. Oh, to be scorned by Mother Nature!

We weathered a major snowstorm last weekend, a “blizzard” according to our weather ‘casters, with the heavens dropping over 15+” of snow in the Twin Cities and upwards of 24” in some parts of the state. Having dug out the night before to ensure a timely commute Monday morning, roads cleared by our ever-vigilant snow removal crews, and fortified with a cup of French Roast, I made my way to work, avoiding a patch of ice here and there, brimming with a feeling of renewed optimism. The sun peeked out through the occasional breaks in the clouds and the radio belched out a mixture of bebop jazz and forecasts of higher temps as the week progressed – warm enough, in fact, to coax the snow into a mighty retreat and encourage the grass and flowers to emerge from their slumber. Yes, even in the face of adversity and course reversals, there remains optimism and hope.

And, lest we forget, there’s Trump World – a surreal realm filled with a dizzying array of revelations on an almost daily basis. President Trump and his administration have wrought and weathered countless, exhausting “crises” ranging from the personal (Stormy Daniels) to Cabinet member misconduct (EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt), scams (recent $25 million settlement in the Trump University class action lawsuit) and matters involving immigration and immigrants. Those immigration-related matters have included support for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and, then, no support; building a border wall with many questions remaining about who will pay for it; recent U.S. district court (California) ruling against a Department of Justice attempt to withhold federal funding from local police departments in order to coerce them into serving as federal immigration officers in federal immigration enforcement efforts; imposition of quotas on immigration judges; and the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of Trump Travel Ban 3.0 (Trump v. Hawaii) with oral arguments to take place on April 25. All this over the past few days and the list goes on and on and on…Through it all, Trump World seems intent on creating division so great that the bad blood boils down to primal-level tribalism, in short, us against them.

To be sure, we are a diverse nation with differences in abundance, some of those differences based on ethnicity, religion, political viewpoint, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, marital status, and disability, to name a few. But, that’s not a bad thing. Diversity brings many different perspectives on issues and the problems that face us, hopefully increasing the odds at finding solutions. Those differences have existed since the formation of our nation and will remain. Not everyone, for example, wants to be Christian, or Buddhist, or Jewish, or Muslim, or a practitioner of a specific religious faith, or without a religious faith. And, you know, that’s ok. Our Constitution says it’s so. It also says that no specific religion should be imposed on others. And, that’s what, despite our differences, links us…our adherence to key principles outlined in the Constitution. Think of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, separation of powers, and the rule of law, among others. That’s what unites us, We the People, an incredibly diverse and rich nation seeking to make a more perfect Union. It’s a work in progress. We’re a work in progress. And, that’s why it’s called the American Experiment. Yes, even in the face of adversity and course reversals, there remains optimism and hope. We’ll weather this.

R. Mark Frey is a St. Paul, Minnesota attorney who has practiced immigration law exclusively for well-nigh 30 years with an emphasis on asylum and other forms of humanitarian relief, family and marriage-based immigration, naturalization, removal defense, appeals, religious workers, and H-1B, L, and E-2 visas.