Making a Case for Immigration Reform
Tsui Yee pours her family’s hard work and sacrifice into running a successful small business and a passionate stance on immigration.
As a founding partner of an immigration law firm, Guerrero Yee LLP, in New York City, it goes without saying that Yee avidly supports comprehensive immigration reform. But it’s her personal upbringing that really shapes her views.
“My personal background strongly influenced who I am today and why I decided to become an immigration attorney. I am the first in my family to be born in the U.S. and to have graduated from college. This was possible only through the sacrifices that my parents, grandparents and great-grandfather made when they came to the U.S. in search of better opportunities,” she said.
By channeling her life experiences into her professional endeavors, Yee operates a law firm that strives to serve those who come from similar backgrounds.
Working to provide legal counsel and a much needed voice to the individuals at the center of the immigration issue, and who so often find themselves dehumanized by the political rhetoric that dominates the immigration debate, is Yee’s primary objective.
Focusing her law practice around individuals and families that are struggling with our nation’s current immigration policies has shown Yee just how badly the reform is needed.
“As an immigration lawyer, I represent individuals who are going through some of the most difficult, stressful times in their lives trying to navigate the complicated and broken immigration system,” she said.
Many of her clients face the threat of deportation and being separated from their families. “Many of them have close relatives who are either citizens or permanent residents, but they themselves do not now qualify to legalize their status due to the sorry state of the immigration laws,” she said. “This is why comprehensive immigration reform is so needed.”
Not only does Yee represent immigrants as clients and fight passionately for their rights and a more efficient and helpful system, she also employs them at her firm, where all of her legal assistants are immigrants.
“This is vital for us, as we are an immigration law firm whose mission is to assist clients in obtaining their citizenship, green card status, work visas, or who need representation defending themselves against deportation proceedings,” she said. Because her legal assistants have been through the immigration process themselves, they bring an experiential familiarity and personal understanding to the practice, knowing full well the obstacles immigrants face in navigating the complex legal system.
Those life experiences, different cultural perspectives and “a wealth of skills and assets” that Yee takes considerable note to mention (everything from a strong work ethic to multilingual skills) make immigrant workers a key to her firm’s success.
“They comprise a vital part of our business and success,” she said. “Without more sensible and more human immigration laws, this country will not be able to benefit from all that immigrants have to offer.”