Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Our Top Secret Applied Sciences Immigration Division

January 2nd, 2014
posted by at 6:21 pm


By Murali Bashyam

A few months ago, I was watching an episode of Arrow with my 11 year-old nephew, Rohan.  In that episode, the CEO of Oliver Queen’s (aka Green Arrow’s) company, Queen Consolidated, mentioned that the company had an Applied Sciences division.  I immediately turned to Rohan and said, “everybody has an Applied Sciences division!  Queen Consolidated has one, and Wayne Enterprises has one too.”

And then it hit me!

Bashyam Shah needed to start an Applied Sciences Division as well!  If Batman and Green Arrow run successful companies with an Applied Sciences Division, then so should we.  After all, it’s my job as the Managing Partner of this business to keep us on the cutting edge of knowledge and technology!

That’s why we’ve been silent on this blog since last May.

We’ve been working really hard at establishing the first ever Applied Sciences Immigration Division at a law firm.   Leading our efforts as the head of the division is my nephew, Rohan.  Despite his young age, he is the perfect ‘diabolical creative genius’ type to create the systems that will revolutionize the immigration industry.  Of course, we are working on many other things as well, but that will have to stay top-secret for now.

At the right time, all will be revealed!

In the meantime, we will regularly post new and interesting blogs on this site in 2014.  We will also be changing our law firm name to Bashyam Enterprises Consolidated.

Stay tuned…

Beauty Without Borders

September 3rd, 2010
posted by at 6:55 pm

Working in an immigration law office one comes to appreciate multiculturalism and better understand how and why top talent from abroad would strive for temporary and permanent transfers to the United States.

So, last week, as I watched 83 representatives from across the globe compete for the Miss Universe title, I wondered how the competition fared on the global stage. Were any of our clients watching along with me? Pageants take place all over the world and, surely, draw audiences internationally.

One thing I do know is that whether one is watching the Miss Universe pageant in Puerto Rico or Pennsylvania, one thing remains the same; that audience is watching because in some way they identify with the region, values, language and culture that those delegates represent.

I’m of Hispanic descent and like many Latin American women have followed beauty pageants my whole life. It’s part of our culture. Every little town or “barrio” across Latin America elects some sort of queen or princess as an ambassador. A representative of the beauty of that region.

Sure a pageant is a “beauty contest” which takes physical appearance into consideration when awarding the winner with the crown and title, but that’s watering it down just a bit.

Candidates go through meticulous physical and mental training exercises, raise money, define campaign goals, civic engagement platforms. If the delegate is “elected” she (or he, remember California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a beauty, um, king), is given a voice to speak for publicly and the opportunity to evoke passionate interests and involvement in social and political issues.

Just as our town, state and federal representatives are typically elected because they reflect their constituents, pageant contestants are representatives of their communities and selected because they embody the people that they represent feel that they reflect their best selves, whether that be their values, culture, their appearance, or their commitment to the community that they represent. All the while maintaining an enviable appearance and regal posture.

Sure, just like some politicians and other people of power, we get a few lemons in the bunch here and there. Unfortunately, those seem to be the ones who get most of the attention. Every once in awhile, however, a leader comes along with a platform that inspires us and makes us proud.

Since Miss Mexico, Jimena Navarrete, took the Miss Universe crown in Las Vegas last week I have been following her press coverage. She quickly made it clear what she plans to promote as the world’s newest Miss Universe – her home country of Mexico. “I want the whole world to know about my country and my people,” the Guadalajara native said.

People are paying attention, perhaps because Mexico is center stage in the news these days; immigration, drug cartels, 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence this month (No, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day).

Whatever the reason, it makes me happy and proud that a fellow Latina is setting out to do what I believe the Miss Universe pageant truly intends to do. Use the international title and platform to bring awareness to the rest of the world. Miss Universe is a beauty pageant that celebrates the cultural diversity that makes up the world. It isn’t about who feel in her 4 ½ inch heels on stage this year.

“Her triumph is a source of pride and satisfaction for all Mexicans, who see in her the fruits of perseverance,” Mexican President Felipe Calderon said in a statement. Calderon said on Twitter that her victory would help Mexico’s image as a country.

After the pageant, she answered questions about Arizona’s recent immigration law.

“Every country has the right to impose and enact their laws,” she said, wearing her new sash and sparkling tiara. “But I tell you that all the Mexicans and the Latins that are living here in the United States are hardworking people – people who want to improve on their quality of life.”

Each year, these contestants and their families navigate the U.S. Immigration system in order to represent their region each year.

Miss Thailand Fonthip Watcharatrakul won Miss Photogenic Universe and a second award for having the best national costume. First runner-up was Miss Jamaica Yendi Phillipps, while second runner-up was Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell. Fakih who represented the U.S. in the pageant, a 24-year-old Lebanese immigrant from Dearborn, Mich., spurred celebrations among Arab-Americans when she won Miss USA.

Last year, Stefania Fernandez, Miss Universe 2009, was approved for a green card based on her extraordinary ability and global philanthropic efforts. Fernandez is now proudly on her way to U.S. citizenship.

This is not the first nor will it be the last time that immigration and the beauty industry collide, I’m just glad to know that platforms still exist for others to send a representative, an ambassador, to the U.S. to demonstrate the culture, beauty, diligence, and humanity, which is sometimes hard for many in America to appreciate.

Remember, No Man is a Failure Who Has Friends

June 6th, 2010
posted by at 8:32 pm

The title of this post is line from the popular 1940’s movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.  That line, along with my strong belief that people have the capacity to use and share wisdom through friendships and relationships, inspired me to form a non-profit with my friends last year.

Appropriately called Friends Unite, the mission of our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization is to provide the support necessary for people and communities to help themselves. Our goal is to provide support for the advancement of education, health services and other basic necessities, such as food, water and shelter to people and communities around the world.  Of course, in doing so, we hope to form partnerships and friendships that will last a lifetime.

I’ve always felt that what makes our immigration law firm so special is that we believe in good relationships.  Not just with our clients, but with each other as well.   As a result, many of us have been together for quite a while.  For example, our Senior Counsel has been with our law firm for close to 5 years.  Our Senior Paralegals have been with us for over 4 years.  And our Client Relations Manager, who is also the Vice President of Friends Unite, celebrates her 10th anniversary with the firm this year!

I consider all of them my friends.

Through Friends Unite, we have already created great relationships with people and organizations around the world.   One such relationship is with Abraham Lueth, founder of the Southern Sudan Fellowship (SSF).  This organization built a school for children in Southern Sudan, and is about to break ground on an all-girls High School in a city called Akot.

Southern Sudan was involved in a brutal civil war for over two decades.  During the war, close to two million Sudanese were killed and roughly four million were forced to leave their homes.  Many who suffered during the war were children.  For those of you who want to learn more about the war, and its terrible impact on families and children in Southern Sudan, there is an excellent book I am reading titled ‘What is the What’ by Dave Eggers.  The book tells the story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys from the Sudanese civil war.   Mr. Deng also gives back to the children of Southern Sudan through his Valentino Achak Deng Foundation.

Some of our other partners include WSAID, Brahmi, and the Africa Economic Foundation.  The projects weare working on with them include an educational project on the Visceral Leishmanaisis Disease, a solar power project for a school in India, and a food security and microfinance project in a village called Kilisa in Kenya.  We are excited about the relationships we are forming with our partners, as well as the work we are and will be doing together.

Feel free to visit the website of Friends Unite to learn more about our mission, vision, projects and partners.   If you want to get involved with Friends Unite, please contact us.  We welcome your participation and look forward to getting to know you.

To follow Friends Unite, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.


April 13th, 2010
posted by at 1:08 pm

I was just cleaning some folders on my computer and came across these pictures of a trip our office took back in 2008.  I clearly remember my response, “Parawhat?!”, to our Client Relations Manager, Pam Prather, when she suggested a few years ago that our office take a day off and go to Paraclete XP.

Of course, I was intrigued.  Pam explained that Paraclete XP is a company in Raeford, North Carolina that operates a wind-tunnel.  Their vertical wind tunnel moves air up in a vertical column.  Although it’s used mostly for the purposes of recreation, it also serves as a training device for skydivers and the military.

When Pam finished describing it to me, I immediately said ‘let’s do it!’  I had gone skydiving once, and this sounded like the next best thing.  So we booked date, hopped in a few cars that morning, and drove down to Raeford, North Carolina to experience something new.

As the saying goes, a picture can speak a thousand words.  So here is a picture of one of our employees floating in the wind tunnel while the rest of us patiently await our turn.

Bashyam Shah Team Patiently Awaiting Their Turn

The guy on the right in the white helmet is an instructor.  He’s in there to help steady us in case we flip over or go smashing into the glass.  Let me tell you, many of us got fairly intimate with that glass in the beginning!

Floating in this wind tunnel was not as easy as it looks, and to maintain balance is extremely difficult.   But when we were finally able to steady ourselves, it was fun gliding in the wind tunnel.  We experienced a little of what sky divers experience without the danger (or fear) of jumping out of a plane.

Our team has always made an effort to do fun things together outside of the office.  Some companies call it team-building.  With us, we’ve always been lucky to have a team that works hard, provides great immigration legal service to our clients, and also truly enjoys each other’s company.

Here we are in 2008 after our Paraclete adventure.

Bashyam Shah 's Parachuting Pros

Disclaimer: The title of this blog post does not in any way refer to Lindsay Lohan or the now infamous e-Trade ‘milkawhat’ commercial.

Pledge for March for America

March 22nd, 2010
posted by at 3:55 pm

On Sunday, thousands of diverse groups from across the nation marched on the National Mall in Washington D.C., peacefully, calling for immigration reform. 

During the past few weeks, various ethnic and advocacy groups across the U.S. have promoted fundraising efforts to help people get to Washington, D.C., for the immigration reform rally.

A similar call for action happened right here in North Carolina, where the state’s Spanish-language media network, Que Pasa, called for the public’s support through their radio airwaves to sponsor additional buses, food and water for community members wishing to take the ride up to D.C. for Sunday’s march.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the area known as the “research triangle” is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the country, with a growth rate of 4.3 in 2008. And, part of the growth is due to immigrants choosing this area to settle down: almost 35 percent of immigrants in North Carolina came to the United States after the year 2000. 

Ethnic media outlets, like Que Pasa, have been keeping a watchful eye on the changes in North Carolina’s immigration issues, which have become an important topic for the Hispanic community in light of the state’s clamp down on undocumented immigrants. 

Que Pasa newspaper’s print and online editions run the “Buzon del Inmigrante” -The Immigrant’s Mailbox – where readers can write in with immigration-related questions.

We recently built a partnership with the Spanish-language news network to provide immigration education and information to the state’s Hispanic community, so when I received a call from Que Pasa’s account executive, Josie Aronson, requesting Bashyam Shah ’s pledge of support for Sunday’s march, I knew that we would want to contribute our own “granito de sal” (grain of salt). Our managing partner, Murali Bashaym immediately agreed to pledge to the cause.

The media company had personally sponsored 6 buses. But with the support of local businesses, like us, and individuals in the community, they were able to add 6 additional buses to their caravan to the nation’s Capitol in just 24 hours!

Our firm was unable to attend the historical event at Washington’s National Mall, but as an immigration law firm we know that the topic of immigration is widely misunderstood in America, which causes unnecessary conflict where none should exist.

I worked as immigration caseworker for a U.S. Congressman several years ago and have since had an interest the immigration system and learned just how much it is in need of a “face lift.” While I did not go through the immigration system, I grew up in Puerto Rico and my grandparents came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico, Italy and the U.K.

Our managing partner, Murali Bashyam, has been an immigration lawyer for over 14 years, and represents many immigrants in North Carolina and across the United States.  He too is an immigrant.  His parents are from India and he was born in Canada.  He is passionate about the topic of immigration for many reasons, one of which has to do with the wonderful people we meet through our work. 

That’s why we are committed to supporting events like yesterday’s march, as well as, initiating conversations through the media and within the community that will hopefully result in mutual understanding among immigrants, U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.

We Are The World

March 11th, 2010
posted by at 7:33 pm

In a day and age where selfless philanthropy is rare, I am moved by my employer, Bashyam Shah LLP – Immigration Law Group, for moving so quickly to support the Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Soon after the disaster in Haiti, we hit the ground running to respond to this humanitarian crisis by providing important guidance on obtaining Temporary Protected Status for Haitians through our Immigration Minute web video segment, we also shared this information via our e-newsletter and our colleague, Pam Prather, led the charge in making hygiene kits for the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR).

Today’s technology has greatly changed the way people give in a crisis. Through mediums like television, mobile phones and the Internet millions have been raised for Haiti, in only a matter of seconds, by texting and tweeting, on social networking sites and by way of personal Web pages.

I know of a number of other law firms and businesses who have also pledged their support to this worthy cause and I salute them. When faced with a disaster of this magnitude, every little bit-large or small-counts.

I sell this type of social action year-round by explaining what volunteering can do for the soul beyond what it can do for society. In a world that can sometimes seem so shallow this kind of showing of philanthropy puts everything into perspective.

As a long time community volunteer and advocate, I am proud to be a part of a group of colleagues who share my passion for helping others.

Our involvement doesn’t stop in Haiti,  several years ago the firm began to help with the significant influx of Montagnards from Vietnam, by working with The Montagnard Human Rights Organization, a non-profit that provides immigration services to refugees in North Carolina. They have since expanded to serving refugees from many different nations.  We’ve had a close and mutually beneficial relationship for several years now, with our attorneys and paralegals logging many pro bono hours on their behalf, as well as on behalf of many of their individual clients.

Members of the law firm have also formed a charity to help people in need around the world.  Called Friends Unite, the organization’s 501(c)(3) charitable mission is to provide funding and support for the advancement of education, health services and other basic necessities, such as food, water and shelter, which are often compromised by poverty.

Our Managing Partner, Murali Bashyam serves on the Board of Directors of the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities.  The Foundation operates the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities, which offers educational, residential and family support services to nearly 400 children and adults with special needs

 We have created this Philanthropy link on our web site to keep you informed on what charities we are currently working with and support.  If you wish to get involved with us in any of these charitable organizations, please let us know.  We would love to have your help and support.

Written by: Jessica Coscia