This Time Next Year


shutterstock_161204669It’s holiday season again.  For me, no matter what mood I’m in, I find it hard not to smile a bit more this time of year—at Santa collecting donations, or a child’s face lighting up at the taste of a candy cane, or even at the often sappy holiday music that I’m unable to resist singing along to.

We’re so blessed. I know I’ll have a roof over my head, food on the table, and my family around me this Christmas.  I’ll get to start off duck hunting with my lab Otis, see the kids opening their presents, hug my wife, and enjoy the day.

But, I don’t just dwell on all the good.  I also think of a lot of other people who aren’t having quite the same holiday experience.

Is that some sort of human quirk that we don’t just enjoy the moment but instead think of things that aren’t as good?

Well, whatever the reason, this holiday season I’m going to keep thinking about the American families who have lost one or more members this past year to removal.  I’m going to be thinking of the folks in detention, many of whom did nothing more harmful than a minor traffic violation but who have been separated from their families nonetheless.  I’m going to be thinking of the delays that so many petitioners face as they go through the process for a green card.  I’m going to be thinking of all the AILA members who are worried about a client being denied a provisional waiver without a good reason.  I’m going to be thinking about the American businesses, small and large, who could be doing better if they had the right workers but have run into roadblocks due to our messed up immigration system.

Surrounded by wrapping paper, with Christmas music playing, and my family around me, I will say thanks for my good fortune.

And I’ll be getting ready for the immigration reform fight to resume in 2014, with a renewed effort.  Because the human toll of our broken immigration system is both tragic and also avoidable.  I hope you’ll all join me in committing to advocate and educate in 2014.

So that this time, next year, we’re celebrating our newly reformed immigration system, we’re getting ready for the implementation of the new laws, and we’re forever grateful for the opportunity we had to fight for what we believed in.

In the meantime, hug your loved ones, have a happy holiday, and I’ll see you next year.

by T. Douglas Stump