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Lawyers Needed to Do the Right Thing: Immigration

It's hard to find a lawyer who is a hero for everybody.

That's because for every hero, there is an enemy -- and in the law it is often the same person. It's the nature of the adversary system; even the devil has an advocate.

It may be wishful thinking, but the legal profession needs a hero. It's not easy in America, even when everybody is supposedly on the same side. But it's important to consider: when should you stand up for what you feel is right, even if it goes against your professional interests? And can drawing a line with your convictions actually be beneficial for your career long-term? Many legal professional are asking these questions today in the context of immigration.

Kidnapped by Guerrillas

In the Matter of A-C-M, a Salvadoran woman really needed a hero in 1990 when she was kidnapped by guerrillas. The soldiers made her watch her husband dig his own grave before they shot him.

They forced her into weapons training, under threat of death, then made her cook, clean, and wash clothes. In 1991, she fled the country and entered the United States illegally.

When she later asked for asylum, a judge said she was ineligible because she gave material support to the terrorists. New York attorney Dawn Pipek Guidone appealed the decision, but the immigration appeals board affirmed.

One board member, Linda Wendtland, knew it was wrong. Her lone dissent was not enough, however.

One at a Time

Perhaps Guidone, with support from the dissent, will succeed on appeal. In the meantime, people like Jordan Dyrdahl-Roberts have drawn a personal line on U.S. immigration laws.

Working for a government agency, he decided to quit when asked to help ICE deport immigrants. He didn't want to have anything to do with breaking up families. His story went viral.

"People have asked why am I doing this if I have a child," he said. "I'm doing this because I have a child. I want to be able to look my child in the eye."

He's not a lawyer, but lawyers like that are hard to find.

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