After graduating from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor’s degree in History, I decided to enter the restaurant business because of my passion for great food and wine. Basque friends of my parents helped secure me an apprenticeship in a restaurant in San Sebastian-Arzac, the first restaurant in Spain to receive a Michelin star. I worked in both Spain and in France, and in retrospect, some of that time was in violation of my visa status. I had never sought formal approval to do what I was doing there, although some of it was under cover of my dual Irish-American citizenship.
I went on to obtain my MBA from Marymount University and after 15 years in the restaurant industry, I was ready to move on. I spent 5 years managing a light industrial temporary help company in Atlanta. While there, I could never reconcile my understanding of America with the stories I would hear from many of my employees of the practical impossibility of obtaining the right paperwork to live and work here legally.
I was inspired to return to school again — this time to law school to become an immigration attorney. I pursued this course because of my own frustration with the situations of people I personally knew — who in all other ways were and are great assets to our country and our economy. The people I knew from other countries almost universally had great work ethics, phenomenal attitudes it the face of great adversity and yes, often paid taxes — not only through payroll deductions but through proactively declaring their earnings. I graduated from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2006 and passed the bar exam. I worked for a local immigration attorney until 2012 when I decided to go out on my own. While I want to help people do it right from the beginning, I also understand that people who are voting with their feet to come here any way they can also bring tremendous strength to our country. I believe that America wins when we can attract those of strength and determination to come and become Americans.
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