Practicing Immigration Law in the COVID19 Era – Post 4


AILA members are sharing their first person accounts of life and work at the moment – if you’re an AILA member, please email your 400-800 word submission to for consideration. Thank you for all you do!

When this all started, people snickered at the use of masks and wipes and refusing to shake hands.  We have gone from that to, for most people, complete isolation.  Humans are social creatures and while introverts are silently rejoicing, many people are in pain.

You are not alone.

For the folks with kids, you are suddenly doing your work and teaching multiple levels of school.  While also trying not to rip out your hair and ok fine, do the virtual class in your fireman underpants – just please pay attention to the teacher.  For the folks running a firm, there is the balance of understanding everyone’s anxiety, which increases their own anxiety ten-fold as productivity drops while wondering which bills will be due and how payroll will be met, how rent will be paid and why the payment plan clients are disappearing.

You are not alone.

For the super fit who want to run a marathon, if you are in a shelter-in-place state, you are dying to go for a long run.  Now you find yourself signing up for a Zoom Zumba class just to stay sane.  On the flipside there are people who are molding a permanent spot on their couch and have become intimately acquainted with the Tiger King, and the friends of those people who keep wondering who Joe Exotic is and why their feeds are flooded with memes about him.

You are not alone.

You might be going about your day just fine, responding to emails and answering phone calls when it dawns on you that the line to the grocery store is probably two miles long because everyone is 6 ft away from each other but you’re almost out of eggs and bread. Which inevitably means you need to stop what you are doing and run over to the supermarket.  Well, better put some pants on after this next Zoom call because supermarkets can see you from the waist down. “Wait – did I shower today?” you think. “Or has it been a few days? Is it Tuesday?”

You are not alone.

Other than staying away from other people and thereby passing on the virus, there is no right way to do this.  Some people have erratic sleep patterns.  Some people are cooking the entire Julia Childs cookbook and posting on Instagram.  Some people are creating their business plan for the next 5 years.  Some are on twelve group texts, keeping in touch with friends with cocktails on Zoom, Houseparty and Skype. Some have implemented airport rules in their homes – bourbon in their coffee might not be frowned upon because, look at where we are!

You are not alone.

Do not beat yourself up because you saw someone on Facebook who has had a productive 12-hour day, has 4 clean children, an 8 hour billable day and managed to get dinner on the table.  We all have a different pace and a different way of dealing with this.  Whether you live with twelve people or alone, everyone is struggling with this pandemic.  It has presented new challenges and you do not have to be super motivated to solve all your problems and clean out your kitchen drawers.  You do not have to worry about gaining weight. Is the Rona 19 like the freshman 15? Maybe. And that’s ok.  I do not think we are going to be traveling to show anyone our beach bodies much this summer anyway.

You are not alone.

My father, who lives in another country, tested positive for COVID-19.  It threw me into an insane array of emotions. I felt frustrated, uneducated about the virus, angry at the various governments and their action, and wondered if I would be stupid to get on a plane., or heartless to not. Could this be my last chance to see my Dad?  What are you supposed to do in these situations? Should I leave knowing I might not be able to come back for a month or longer? What would I be able to do?  What should I do?  I am not the first person with a family member or loved one to get sick, and I will not be the last.

I am not alone.

I had so many people reach out and send me heartfelt messages.  I am extremely blessed to have family members in the medical field who could take care of him. Though he is over 80 and part of the very vulnerable community who are severely affected, he is recovering.

Perhaps in this time where we are being urged to socially distance ourselves and lead a more solitary life, it is a great reminder that we are interconnected.  As a result, everyone needs a mental break, and we need a bit more kindness and gratitude towards each other. For the people who are working around the clock to give us access to food and medical services, the delivery people, the public transportation operators and emergency services, we thank you and remind everyone, you are not alone.

Looking forward to seeing everyone healthy on the other side.

by Neena Dutta