Rome at­tor­ney from Brazil: Im­mi­gra­tion not all bad

Daniele Tedesco, a U.S. cit­i­zen of 10 years, speaks to the Ex­change Club about the ba­sics of im­mi­gra­tion and the ne­ces­sity to hu­man­ize the of­ten con­tro­ver­sial de­bate.

Rome News-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - By Spencer Lahr Staff Writer SLahr@RN-T.com

When it comes to talk­ing about im­mi­gra­tion, ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially TV pun­dits, has an opin­ion but no idea what they’re talk­ing about, said Rome at­tor­ney Daniele Tedesco.

Tedesco, who fo­cuses on im­mi­gra­tion law, laid out the ground­work for what peo­ple need to think about when im­mi­gra­tion comes up. She said im­mi­gra­tion is one of the most com­plex ar­eas of law, up there with es­tate plan­ning and taxes, and is a cen­tral piece of what it is to be Amer­i­can.

“It’s a daily learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” she told Ex­change Club of Rome mem­bers on Fri­day. “Im­mi­gra­tion is not a bad thing. Think about your fam­ily his­tory.

“We need new blood — the peo­ple with that grit,” she con­tin­ued, adding that this is cen­tral to Amer­ica be­ing com­pet­i­tive by uti­liz­ing oth­ers’ tal­ent to de­sign, man­u­fac­ture and cre­ate.

A na­tive of Brazil, Tedesco came to the United States in April 2001, be­com­ing a cit­i­zen in Oc­to­ber 2007.

She has been a prac­tic­ing at­tor­ney in Rome since 2009.

“I am from Brazil, so I have a true South­ern ac­cent,” she joked.

There are two ma­jor cat­e­gories of visas: a non­im­mi­grant visa, which is tem­po­rary, and an im­mi­grant visa — which is known as a green card be­cause the card is lit­er­ally green. Not a very cre­ative name, Tedesco laughed. Non­im­mi­grant visas are for for­eign­ers com­ing to the states for an event, con­fer­ence or to study — it doesn’t per­mit them to work.

The H1B visa is ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive, Tedesco ex­plained, as there are only 44,000 a year granted and com­pa­nies strug­gle to get th­ese to bring tal­ented and skilled work­ers from other ar­eas of the world to come and work for them.

Over 100,000 peo­ple are all push­ing to get one of th­ese visas, and com­pa­nies lose money in at­tor­ney and pro­cess­ing fees when they may not ac­tu­ally be able to get the per­son they want in the U.S. to work or be trained.

Due to the lim­ited amount of th­ese visas, IBM, a multi­na­tional tech­nol­ogy com­pany, got fed up with the process and lob­bied Congress to cre­ate an L-1B visa. This visa opened up a new cat­e­gory, where com­pa­nies could trans­fer an em­ployee from abroad and train them in the U.S.

“Th­ese are for your top dogs,” said Tedesco, such as top man­agers, ex­ec­u­tives or some­one with great value and po­ten­tial.

An O visa is for peo­ple with ex­tra­or­di­nary abil­ity, Tedesco con­tin­ued, for those who are gifted. An ex­am­ple is a sci­en­tist who is widely rec­og­nized and has had their work pub­lished in a num­ber of top sci­en­tific jour­nals.

Many peo­ple come to the U.S. to study and want to stay here af­ter grad­u­at­ing, Tedesco said. Busi­nesses want to hire th­ese peo­ple and keep them in Amer­ica, so they spon­sor them for green cards.

Asy­lum is another piece of im­mi­gra­tion. If an in­di­vid­ual or a group of peo­ple have been per­se­cuted

by their gov­ern­ment due to their re­li­gion, be­liefs or crit­i­cism of those in power, they can flee their coun­try and ap­ply for refugee sta­tus.

Tedesco took aim at the me­dia for throw­ing out the facts and only of­fer­ing opin­ion and bias in the im­mi­gra­tion de­bate.

“It drives me in­sane,” she said, adding that there seems to be a pref­er­ence on en­ter­tain­ment over ac­tual news.

Tedesco also of­fered her take on Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has un­veiled travel re­stric­tions on for­eign­ers from Chad, Libya, North Ko­rea, So­ma­lia, Syria, Venezuela and Ye­men, as a re­sponse to le­gal chal­lenges to the travel ban he signed ear­lier this year, along with in­sist­ing on the con­struc­tion of a for­mi­da­ble wall on the bor­der with Mex­ico.

“Just pray for the pres­i­dent,” she said. “If any­one needs wis­dom, this guy does.”

There are cer­tainly is­sues with the gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to prop­erly screen for­eign­ers from cer­tain coun­tries, as ac­cess to ac­cu­rate data­bases to ver­ify they are who they say they are not al­ways read­ily avail­able or have been com­pletely de­stroyed, Tedesco said. It’s hard to do some­thing un­til a bet­ter screen­ing process has been found, she added.

Tedesco did point to Trump’s de­ci­sion on phas­ing out DACA — de­ferred ac­tion for child­hood ar­rivals — and leav­ing it on Congress to de­cide its fate in­stead of com­pletely wip­ing it out as one that con­trasted with some of the crit­i­cisms and fin­ger point­ing he has made re­gard­ing im­mi­gra­tion.

“Noth­ing with im­mi­gra­tion is cer­tain,” she said. “You can­not make the chil­dren pay for the sins of the par­ents.”

DACA, along with the DREAM — de­vel­op­ment, re­lief and ed­u­ca­tion for alien mi­nors — Act, are tem­po­rary fixes.

“DACA is the BandAid and the DREAM Act is the stitches,” she said, adding that th­ese ac­tions tend to leave young peo­ple in limbo in re­gards to their im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus. “The wound is deep.”

Tedesco said many peo­ple think that as an im­mi­gra­tion lawyer, she wants ev­ery­one to come in. That’s not the case though.

“You have to have a say in who en­ters your coun­try,” she said.

She ex­em­pli­fied the is­sue by say­ing she has the power to de­cide who can and can­not en­ter her home, and she may not al­low ev­ery­one in, de­pend­ing on the cir­cum­stances.

To con­clude her talk, Tedesco at­tempted to in­still in the au­di­ence the essence of who Amer­i­cans are.

“We’re sup­posed to help, that’s who we are,” she said. “We are fun­da­men­tally good be­cause we know our neigh­bor.”

She called on them to ap­proach each is­sue with com­mon sense and to re­mem­ber the de­ci­sions that are made are af­fect­ing other hu­mans.

“At the end of the day it will af­fect ev­ery­body,” she said.

Spencer Lahr / Rome News-Tri­bune

Rome at­tor­ney Daniele Tedesco speaks to Ex­change Club of Rome mem­bers about im­mi­gra­tion dur­ing a re­cent meet­ing in The Pal­la­dium at the Coosa Val­ley Fair­grounds.

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