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April 18, 2017

 

RE:      ELAINE M. CALDERON’S ENTRY TO GOVERNMENT SERVICE

 

Dear Clients, Family, Friends, and Colleagues:

 

A very long time ago, I sought out a position as a paralegal at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy.  At the time, I wanted to see if I liked immigration law enough to go to law school.  Indeed, I did.  I had found my purpose and professional calling.

 

The story of my family’s immigration to the United States was my greatest inspiration.  While I did not have the luck of being born a U.S. citizen, I might as well have since my immigration status was derived from theirs.  I was born in Manila to two hardworking, intelligent, and brave individuals.  My parents came to this country on temporary work visas, became permanent residents and eventually U.S. citizens.  I cannot fully and succinctly describe their efforts, challenges, and concerns as they went through the immigration gauntlet during the 1970s and the 1980s.

 

Lenni Benson, Lisa Spiegel, Careen Shannon, and Maria Gandarez were among the great teachers, practitioners, and coaches I had.  I owe them and many others so much for their time and the opportunity to witness their work in action.  Their support remains invaluable.

 

I gained tremendous satisfaction from working alongside my immigration colleagues, and of course, from my clients.  These immigrants came from Oman, Argentina, Iceland, Japan, Ghana, and Australia, to name a few.  As each of them made their home in America, they traveled and re-settled in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami just like any American.  They ranged from professionals in the upper echelons of their field; international students seeking an American life; business owners and their employees; people concerned for the welfare of their spouses, parents, siblings and children; and people fleeing from terrible circumstances.  Their stories were unique, diverse and human.  I began to realize that immigrants and Americans are the same as we all pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

 

I’m sure you are thinking “Why is Elaine joining the government?”  U.S. citizenship allows me to work for and serve the U.S. government.  The opportunity to work with federal judges is one that I never thought I would have and I could not pass it up.  Along with my own work, this opportunity is a culmination of the efforts of all the people who have supported me in my career.  I also hope this choice will bring meaning to me the way immigration practice has.

 

I will miss immigration practice very much.  I will take the knowledge of immigration law and my experiences in the field with me to this new chapter.  Please know the depths of my gratitude to you and know that I will always welcome time to hear your immigrant and American stories.

 

Sincerely,

Elaine M. Calderon, Esq.

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