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Recognizing the Impact of Fathers and Father Figures

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In recognition of Father’s Day, we requested AILA members to share how one thing their dad did or stated helped them select immigration legislation as a occupation.

“My Dad spent time in India and China during the war and always had a huge interest in different cultures which he instilled in me. He would play Ravi Shankar in the house when I was a kid and I think his love of other cultures is in me and is one of the reasons I love immigration law!” ~ Steven Ladik, Dallas, TX

“My dad is a retired Air Force Lt. Col, and when I was 11 years old we moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  My international school hosted an exchange with Girl Scouts from the nearby Vietnamese refugee camp, and my mom worked with the refugee screening process when she was there as a military spouse.  If my dad had not taken us overseas and shown me the universality of the human experience, I am not sure I would have had the interest or passion to pursue the path I am on now.” ~ Emily Haverkamp, Wichita, KS

“My father was an entrepreneur through and through and loved it when I told him I was leaving the large corporate law firm where I was practicing to start my own immigration firm. Having his advice and support, especially in the early years after my firm was founded, made a big difference and I will always be grateful to him. He passed away 11 years ago, but I’ve honored his role in helping me by naming our book publishing operation after him. The three titles we’ve published so far are under the name Alan House.” ~ Greg Siskind, Memphis, TN

“As a young entrepreneur, my dad traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and Europe searching for products and ideas that he could bring back and market in Iran. After his travels, he would always tell us about his encounters with other cultures, customs, and in particular the different cuisines. As a boy, I wanted to travel that path and meet everyone in the world!  Being an immigration attorney comes as close as I can get to reaching that goal.” ~ Ally Bolour, Los Angeles, CA

“My father, Sam Pelta, was a survivor of the ghetto in Lodz, Poland, and a satellite labor camp associated with the Buchenwald concentration camp.   He was liberated, at 20 years of age, on a “death march,” a compelled evacuation of the focus camps organized by Nazis after they have been on the cusp of defeat by the Allied forces. My father and mama met shortly after the conflict, and for a number of years, they and my sister, then a toddler, lived within the Displaced Persons camp organized by the Allied Forces within the former officer’s quarters at Bergen Belsen. They emigrated to the United States in 1952 under the Displaced Persons Act.

Despite the struggles that my dad and mom had as a younger immigrant household unit within the 1950’s, my father thought that the United States was the very best nation on this planet. He was extremely proud when he grew to become a citizen. He was additionally what I lovingly call a “Philadelphia patriot” – he thought his adopted hometown of Philadelphia was essentially the most stunning metropolis within the U.S., and i’ve heat reminiscences of Sunday household unit strolls alongside the East River Drive what place my father would admire the Art Museum, the boathouses and the rowers on the Schuylkill River.

My father’s resilience and positivity, and that of others within the Holocaust survivor neighborhood in Philadelphia that surrounded me as I grew up, have been formative for me when it comes to my determination to turn into an immigration lawyer.  But two books have had an unimaginable affect on me this yr, and so they induced me to reassess my father’s immigrant admiration for his adopted homeland: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and The Last Million by David Nasaw.  Together, these books helped me perceive that the nation to which my father thought he immigrated was not precisely that shining preferrred for everybody. Isabel Wilkerson’s guide exhibits that it was actually not that beacon of acceptance for its African American residents who, on the similar time of my dad and mom’ immigration to the US within the 1950’s, continued to endure disastrously from widespread discrimination and racial violence in each the South and the North, to which many fled.  The Last Million makes clear that the train of thought of an America with open arms for refugees was a fallacy, even for the Jewish displaced individuals the U.S. in the end took in, to whom these visas have been really solely grudgingly given (my dad and mom have been among the many lucky ones.)

But my father’s perception within the American preferrred continues to be an incredible legacy for me, as a result of it was, for him, and is, for me, a passionate hope for what this nation will be. I’m an legal professional who has been dedicated to the truthful administration of our immigration legal guidelines for over thirty years, and my selection of profession has been pushed by the agency conviction that American’s power, each culturally and economically, is its variety.  As I bear in mind my father and his journey from immigrant to American this Father’s Day, I’m ever grateful to him for instilling in me his hope that our nation continues to evolve towards the perfect that he believed in.” ~ Eleanor Pelta, Washington, DC

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