While other young girls played with dolls, I was digging to China in my back yard.
I taught myself the Chinese alphabet before I learned the American English alphabet.
I yearned to be part of an international community bringing the world’s people together.
Cornell law school and Air Force JAG (Judge Advocate General) helped to get me there.
Fast forward to present day and I live the professional life I’ve dreamed of, bringing couples and families together.
My clients are those who have been separated by immigration laws and thousands of miles.
The wait and the separation are painful, I know.
You may wonder:
How can this American lawyer have any insight? How can I understand the pain of separation from those you love?
I will tell you.
I’ve been where you are now.
I experienced first-hand the pain of separation from someone I loved due to immigration issues.
While serving in the Air Force JAG in Iraq, I fell in love with an Iraqi member of my security detail. We planned to marry and spend the rest of lives together.
When I returned to the United States in 2008, I successfully acquired a fiancé visa for him.
However, it was not to be as the Iraqi government recalled him to active duty to fight terrorism.
Three years after I returned to the United States, my fiancé and I called off our engagement, as the Iraqi government would continue to need his services. They will never let him go.
This is the first time I have ever publicly discussed my very painful experience, but I think it’s important for you to know who I am and why I care about you and your family.
Are you afraid to call an immigration lawyer? I was.
When I returned from my deployment to Iraq, I immediately started looking for ways to bring my fiancé to the United States.
Even though I had been a lawyer for several years, I did not have the answers.
I looked online and talked to friends and colleagues who worked with the immigration and consular services. I received a lot of conflicting information.
Well-meaning friends and mentors told me I should give up.
I didn’t know if I should call an immigration attorney. And I was afraid too.
I wasn’t afraid a lawyer would cost too much. I would have paid anything to get the help I needed.
But I was afraid the lawyer would tell me no, that what I wanted to do was impossible.
I refused to take no for an answer.
I dug in. I had a law degree and years of experience navigating the United States government bureaucracy.
I devoted all my after working hours to learning how our immigration system works. I learned what forms to fill out and what evidence I needed to file.
Finally, I filed my fiancé visa petition on my own. After months of anxious waiting, the approval came.
This is not the experience I want for you.
To be responsible for the future of your loved one knowing the smallest mistake could cause your case to be rejected is a terrible burden.
If I had known there were caring immigration attorneys out there willing to fight for me, I would have hired one.
My own experience fueled my passion for helping you.
When I left military service one thing was clear. I was going to devote the next chapter of my life to help other families separated by outside forces.
I opened my immigration law practice in 2010. Since then, I’ve reunited hundreds of families separated not just by miles but by significant legal barriers.
I will help you too.
CORNELL LAW SCHOOL
Juris Doctor, 2001
B.A., Politics, 1998
Activities & Affiliations
• American Immigration Lawyers
• Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
• Frisco Chamber of Commerce