Whatever Happened to the American Dream?

Today I did a standard consultation with a United States citizen.

The fellow, a son of Italian immigrants, appeared in my office.

Hard working guy who built a very successful construction company.

He wanted to know about sponsoring a Central American employee.

I explained that the immigration law had changed in 2001.

Thus I could not properly achieve what he was seeking.

The guy was incredulous.

“You mean to tell me that this kid, who comes in, rain or shine, does everything perfectly with a smile on his face, and never misses a day of work, can’t get a green card if I file papers for him?”

“No,” I said, sadly.

The man paused.  He stared out my window, ten stories above downtown Newark.

Finally he turned back and quietly asked, palms up in the air, “Whatever Happened to the American Dream?”

I had no reply.

My first thought was of watching Georgia Championship Wrestling as a boy.

The American Dream was Dusty Rhodes, also known as the Plumber’s Son.

Then I thought of Rocky Balboa, fighting Apollo Creed.

But I knew what my potential client meant.

All those old photos of my own great grandparents, arriving here with rags in their pockets from Eastern Europe.

The clichés notwithstanding, this is – and always has been – the greatest country in the world.

But it would be greater if we could help more immigrants achieve the American Dream.

Right now, we sit and observe one of the worst standstills in Congressional history.

Nobody can get together and compromise on a way to legalize the status of decent, hard working, peaceful folks from other countries.

This is the real American Dream.

These are immigrants who do jobs that American citizens are not ready, willing or able to do.

Yet nobody can agree on how to make the American Dream come true in 2014?

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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