MANY Filipinos consult with me saying they are sad, lonely, and depressed over their immigration situation, and just want to give up, and go back to the Philippines. Many of them came to the U.S. years ago, leaving behind a spouse and small children. Because of their immigration situation, they are unable to travel back to the Philippines to visit their loved ones, or to even pray at the grave of a loved one who had passed away while they were trapped in the U.S. Instead, they watch their children grow up via Facetime or Skype, with conversations starting with “Mommy (or daddy), I miss you so much, when will I see you again?” Or they think of the funerals of loved ones they missed because they could not leave the U.S.
Some of these people work two or more jobs and dutifully send money back home to their family, to ensure their care and support. They feel emptiness and loneliness, and they feel there’s no hope in sight. They want to give up and go back to the Philippines to be with their family.
While I fully understand the torment these people are going through, I urge them not to give up, as there may be changes in law that could benefit them. Also, they should think about what life would be like if they did give up and go home:
Once at home, everyone will of course hug and cry the entire night, and reminisce on how much has changed, and how much everyone has missed each other over the years. The person could not be happier. It is like a dream come true.
When they wake up the following morning, they’re still in a blissful dream, being reunited once again with their family. They want to get together with their family and hug and cry some more. But the family is already used to being in the Philippines, so their family has already cried themselves out the previous night, and life is back to normal for them.
Eventually, because the bills still need to be paid, the family may start reminding the person that they now need to find work elsewhere as soon as possible because, after all, the person had been sending money all these years for rice, food, clothing, and education of their children. Those expenses still exist. But there may be no work available in the Philippines. And so, they may find themselves going off to Dubai, Qatar, KSA, or Europe, as an overseas worker, so they can find new work, to keep the steady stream of remittance to their family. But they are again separated from their family, and instead of being in the U.S., they are now in some other foreign country. In addition, by leaving the U.S., they may now be barred from returning for at least 10 years, because of the 3\10 year bar.
My point is that I know there are so many Filipinos in the U.S. who are frustrated, anxious, and lonely for their family, and are just about to give up hope and go back. But you have to think about what life would be like two weeks after you return, when all the hugging and crying are over. In addition, maybe there will be changes in U.S. immigration law that could benefit you. Or perhaps, there could be a way NOW by which you could legalize your status, but you may not be aware of the particular immigration benefit to which you may be entitled. Before giving up and going back, at least seek the advice of an attorney who can evaluate your situation, and see if there are options available to you, or you can pray harder for changes in law after the election.
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Michael J. Gurfinkel is licensed, and an active member of the State Bar of California and New York. All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California. Each case is different. The information contained herein including testimonials, “Success Stories,” endorsements and re-enactments) is of a general nature, and is not intended to apply to any particular case, and does not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter. No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.
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