Welcome to Shout Your Cause with Sally Hendrick, a digital magazine, where you can get found, get heard, and get inspired with content that challenges us to be globally minded. Our focus is on raising awareness around social justice issues, cultural differences, and to bring you the people dedicating their lives to tackling challenging topics as their way of giving back. Let us be your advocate to make your voices heard around the world.
Hey everybody. This is Sally Hendrick with Shout Your Cause. And I am super excited today to have Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch with me, an attorney, an immigration attorney from Austin, Texas. Hello, Kate. Welcome.
Hi Sally, thanks for having me. I'm really happy to be here.
Thank you. I'm very excited that we were able to finally get together and do this. I've been following you actually on TikTok, but I noticed that you're on a lot of other social media channels as well. But you are talking about a topic that is close to my heart because I do have a lot of friends and what I would call family, even though they're not blood-related that have been caught in different situations when it comes to immigration. So I want to talk through some of those things. So why don't you give me a little bit of background about you and tell me, you know, kind of what you were doing?
Sure. So I am an immigration lawyer and I've been doing it now for about 15 years. I'm a native to Austin, Texas, and I went to law school thinking I wanted to do public interest, social justice work. And I took the clinic, the immigration clinic because I wanted to practice my Spanish. And I, you know, I was very naive. Didn't know much about immigration. I thought at that time in my life you know, the America's a land of immigrants and we celebrate diversity and I just believed all of that. That was my reality around me. And my first assignment as a law student attorney was to go to a detention center in Austin and to do an intake with a family of Iraqi asylum seekers. And it was a mother and a father. They were young and they had a little baby girl who was five months old and they were all wearing prison uniforms, including the little baby.
And during that meeting the mom, you know, I was taking their story and the mom asked me if I would hold her baby. Cause she said, you smell like outside the outside. And so I was holding this baby and at the end of the meeting, the mom asked me if I would take her with me, could I sneak her out and take care of her until they could get out of there. And I've, I've told this story a lot at point in my life and I still get emotional when I, when I tell it because it was just that moment changed my life, you know, because it really, it, it sort of disintegrated everything that I believed about America and immigration. And then I, you know, I, I wasn't able to help them in that moment, but I did get to represent them as a student attorney and win their asylum case and get them out of detention. And then I was completely hooked on doing asylum work. And I did asylum work with families in detention for several years. And now I've expanded to doing more just generalized immigration work, but because I'm an immigration attorney in Texas and my heart is connected to the cause of migrants. I've been involved throughout the years and all of the things that we've all heard about, like family detention and family separations and unaccompanied migrant kids. And I've had, you know, frontline view of that stuff as, as an immigration lawyer in Texas.
And that's unique because most people don't ever experienced that side of the coin. All they get is what they see on the media or, you know, what they think they are experiencing maybe with neighbors or kids in school or whatever that may be. And they don't actually realize what is happening in these detention centers. And that's pretty amazing. That story is very touching obviously with the Iraqi family. What year was that?
Around 2006 or 2007, and yeah, and now I've had, you know, many, many more stories just like it. So,
So what are some of the steps that people have to take when they are seeking asylum?
So it's changed a lot recently, you know, within the last administration. One critical thing to understand about asylum is that the statute requires that an asylum seeker be here. They have to be at our border or inside our country to even apply for asylum refugees. That's different. Somebody who is, you know, given status in a refugee camp and comes here with legal status is different than an asylum seeker. And, and we, as a nation recognized our responsibility to protect people, fleeing persecution after our failure to do so during world war II, you know, when we sort of famously turned away this ship of 900 Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust and we sent them back to their death and there was this global reckoning after that, you know, including in our nation about what are we going to do differently next time. And so we signed on to international treaties recognizing our responsibility, and we codified the asylum laws into our system 40 years ago in 1980.
And we've had the system in place for decades and decades where asylum seekers who come to the border are, are put through a screening interview, it's called a credible fear interview. And they tell their story to an asylum officer. And if they tell a story that could potentially qualify them for asylum, then they get released and they prepare for asylum hearing before an immigration judge. And it's important to mention that over 90% of asylum seekers who pass a credible fear interview show up for their court hearing. So there's often this fake statistic thrown out there that the asylum seekers, and it's not, that is not supported by the data. So we've had this credible fear system for years and years and years, and, and people who don't qualify, who don't pass the interview, get deported. But it's, you know, it's been a fair and functioning asylum screening system that we've had in place.
And it was completely dismantled and torn apart under the previous administration. Systematically, I mean, there were, there were multiple attempts to dismantle the asylum system and ultimately the administration was successful. Now what it looks like is the border is essentially completely closed to asylum seekers except for children unaccompanied minors, but families seeking asylum Venezuelans, Cubans there's a group of Haitians now. You know, all of the communities are the people who are fleeing incidents in their country are, are just being turned away. And it's created, what has has created is this population of vulnerable migrants from all over the globe on the Mexican side of the border, which has drawn the cartels. And it is so routine for migrants to be kidnapped by the cartels that they're, I mean, there's stories about, you know, tell them it's your second court date, because they only kidnapped the people who have the first court date.
I mean, it's like, I, you know, it's just is really, really unfortunate that a functioning system was dismantled and has created chaos and death and, and complete and utter torture and terror and people's lives. I feel like I'm talking a lot, but I represented a woman and her daughter earlier this year, who she's a single mom, she fled violence in El Salvador. She came to the border with her eight year old daughter. They were turned away because of the current policies they were kidnapped. And the, the little girl escaped, and she remember miraculously was able to cross the border. And she became one of these unaccompanied migrant kids. And that's when I met her. And she, we all thought her mom was dead. Then her mom escaped, we were able to get her mom across and reunite them. But they went through six weeks of separation. Most of which during most time the daughter thought her mom had died and the mother was subjected to unspeakable horror. She still can't even really recount them during her time kidnapped. And none of that would have happened. Had we had our previous policies in place,
Would you rather work or would you rather play if we're going to go through all of this business building stuff, it better be for something that we love doing, right. Take a moment to do this quick life purpose challenge to discover what makes you truly happy. It's free visit sallyhendrick.com/lifepurpose.
So what is being done right now with the new administration to try to, can they reverse that? What are they trying to fix? It what's happening.
A little, the administration has done a little, but not enough, in my opinion, I'll just be very honest. I think that they should be doing more. I think it's actually quite simple. All we need to do is go back to the system that we had in place. But instead, what we see is the Biden administration lifts the title 42, which is that the final death knell to asylum was because of the border closures due to COVID. And I'll just note that the Trump administration attempted the same closures based on mumps before COVID existed, it didn't succeed. And then they had COVID and it became this opportunity to finally close the borders, but Biden lifted title 42 closures only as it pertains to children. The result of that has been, yes, many unaccompanied migrant kids who were in danger were able to cross, but also many kids who are with their families and are in danger are being sent across alone because they can get to safety, even though their parents can't.
I, I know a woman, a single mom of five kids sent her five kids across along the littlest. One was toddling, you know, under two years old, the oldest one was 13 years old, and this poor woman had to send her kids across the border alone to safety, because that was her only choice. And I think that the Biden administration needs to just lift title 42 completely. It's a farce COVID safety is not a reason to close the borders, we can conduct COVID testing, you know migrants are not the culprits for the spread of the virus in the United States. And so I think there, there has been little actions here and there by the Biden administration, but overall it has not been nearly the level of action that, that I would hope to see.
Yeah, I agree with you. And I don't understand why some governors have tried to blame their COVID numbers on immigrants. It's ridiculous to do that. I mean, it's like, look outside the window. Your neighbor is doing this. It's not, it's not immigrants pro fault that this is happening. It's the policies or the lack thereof and the narrative around this being some sort of freedom freedom taking stance when it comes to mitigations around COVID.
Yeah. I mean, Greg Abbott simultaneously prevent prevented, or attempted to prevent mass mandates in schools in Texas, and also blames asylum seekers for COVID. And it's like, you can't have both, which one is it? You know? It's a very, very, very frustrating to be a rational person living in Texas right now.
I can imagine, I can only imagine. So it's not very different at Tennessee, which is where I am. And apparently we are right now, number one in the nation when it comes to daily cases for new COVID spread. And I do know just firsthand that it's finally reaching a lot of the rural areas. You know, you've got Nashville and you've got Memphis, which are, you know, more tightly packed and tend to be a little more liberal cities. And, you know, they've done really well with the policies and things to handle COVID as best as they can, but the rural areas have really been just kind of just throw caution to the wind if you will, and not really paying attention to it that much. And, but it's finally gotten to them. I like to use the analogy that let's say you've got a rose garden and it's a big rectangle and you are watering one end of it.
And that one end of it is like the most compact city where the spread would be, you know, the fastest and the, and the biggest. And eventually though the water is going to saturate the rest of the garden, but it takes quite some time before it gets there. And I believe that that's what's happening now, which is why we've, we've moved in that direction. Now, one thing I wanted to mention is that I love the fact that you speak Spanish. I went to school in Spain, but it was, it was so long ago back in the early nineties. And I got a minor in Spanish in college. So when you studied Spanish, cause I know you speak really well probably way better than I do. You actually get to use it a lot. Right. So what did you learn in school? Did you or what, tell me more about your history with Spanish.
I did learn in school. My father, my dad was raised in Paraguayan Costa Rica. So he's, you know, totally fluent Spanish speaker, but my mom doesn't speak Spanish. And so it just wasn't easy in the home. And I never learned it as a kid, but I think because my dad was fluent, it gave me enough motivation. You know, my friends were like taking French and taking sign language and taking all the cool languages. And I wanted to do that too, but I was like, you know, blinders on, I am going to speak Spanish. And I think it's probably cause I wanted to be like my dad. And just like you I didn't technically minor in it, but I basically did, you know in college. And then it was that experience in the, in the immigration clinic where I decided I was going to be an immigration lawyer and I did some traveling and now 15 years into it, the majority of my clients are Spanish speakers. So most of the work that I do is in Spanish when I'm talking to clients and when I'm doing my radio show and stuff like that. So I have a really good Spanish when I'm talking about immigration. But when I, I wouldn't tell you about my rose garden, it would be a little bit of a challenge.
That's okay. That's okay.
Turn what you know, into what you do. Join the platform with the most ways to monetize what you know, whether it's online courses, coaching memberships, podcasts, newsletters, communities, or more Kajabi gives you all the tools you need to build market and sell it with just a few clicks sign up at sallyhendrick.com/kajabi. That's K A J A B I.
So you have a radio show. Why don't you tell me, what is that called and what is it about, you know, you have call letters.
I do, I have two weekly radio shows. One is on LA LA and Waco, and the other is on Kayla radio and Austin. And it's the same name for the shows it's called [inaudible], which is the show without borders. And we stream it all on our Facebook and Instagram and YouTube. All the shows are streams. We were streaming on tech talk, but they cut our access. I don't know. I can't figure that out. But anyway the idea is to give updates to our followers. Many of whom are immigrants about all of the shifting policies and it's, you'd think we'd run out of topics doing an hour's worth of content every week, but we do not. There is always something new to talk to people about. My team just won. They've been talking to me about doing a podcast and I'm like, okay, great, go for it. I don't know how to do that. And so I'm one of the shows, the one on Kayla radio, we're gonna start repackaging it for a podcast.
Let's chat because there's some software and stuff that you can use too. That makes it a lot easier to kind of disseminate everything and it can go, you know, it can be podcast, YouTube, you know, whatever. I don't personally do it. I've been in there to mess with it, but I've got an assistant who handles it because I've got a lot to do just to keep these interviews going. But yeah, the technical end of it can sometimes be a little bit hairy, but it's nice when you get that slow going and then it goes out to the podcast channels. And then that, I feel like that also creates this a much larger draw because you will have people who love to listen to podcasts. And that's just so easy for them to do. They don't always have time to sit there and look at their phone, but they might want to listen to a podcast in their car or or while they're working or whatever they're doing.
So yeah, definitely. That's more of a push for me to get it done. So yeah, definitely do it because you can really expand your numbers there as far as the number of people that are following you. And I'm assuming your, do you get some of that on your website as well? Yeah, yeah, yeah. System in place, whole system. Excellent. Excellent. That's awesome. And that helps too, because then you're searchable online. So when people are looking for information, they're going to find you and you get to serve more people in that way, because obviously we know that we can't always serve every individual we want to help, but if we can serve in a bigger way where more people are touched, then it makes a big difference.
I like that perspective. Yeah. I like that a lot. Yeah.
I mean, I want to help everybody, you know, I work with a lot of life coaches that are helping people with different types of things to overcome business coaches, et cetera, as well.
But this is, this is really interesting. So I think that it would be helpful. One of the things that I wanted to bring up is a lot of people have this idea in their head that immigrants just come here illegally and then they just try to take, take, take from the system. And it really creates a horrible narrative around somebody's real true story. And when people hear the real stories, they, they have more empathy, but then they still can go back to this. It's almost like a political narrative that will just destroy it, destroy it. So I would love to hear from you, what, what may be a typical pattern is for someone who comes here and then get stuck in the system that we have because it needs a lot of cleanup.
Sure, absolutely. I have a lot to say about that. There's sort of this joke amongst my colleagues about, you know, we get the call from, you know, somebody who is wanting to help their, their lawn guy or their nanny or their contractor. And the conversation is always about how great, how wonderful this person is. If you know them, you'd love them, you know, and I've had that conversation a thousand times with people on what people don't realize is that that's the reality of the majority of the people that I work with. This is not your, your nanny is not the exception in my experience, you know? And so I think even the people who have been exposed to one or two or a handful of undocumented immigrants and immigrants, and were thoroughly impressed by their ingenuity and their work ethic and what good kind, hearted, honest people, they were hopefully we'll begin to understand that that is the pattern of, of the, the type of people who are so brave that they leave everything they know behind for whatever reason maybe they had to, maybe there was a hurricane, maybe something wasn't safe or maybe they just are a dreamer, you know, and they, they see this incredible nation of the United States with all of this opportunity, for people who are willing to work hard and take advantage of the opportunity to present it to them.
And they do it, they get here somehow and they start a business. You know, immigrants, actually the data shows create jobs. They don't take jobs. And so they come, they come here and I don't know, they open up a convenience store, they start another business, or they're just amazing and contribute so much to the, the fabric of this country. And it is so true that we are the only nation in, on this entire planet that is built on that idea, that people from all over fit in America, you know, and that, that is how this nation has developed. And that is how we're built out. I mean, it's like, it just is, it just is the truth, but there has always been in our history, which is very short this idea that of xenophobia or immigrants, you know, whatever it bring disease, they're dangerous.
They they're lazy. They take things. They're, they're a drain on the system and it started, you know, in the first 100 years of this nation, of course, I'm not even touching on, you know, the issue of slavery or of natives, but the first people who came to this country were white and they were Protestant and they spoke English. So the Catholics, the Irish, I mean, there are cartoons of Irish depicted, like as apes, you know, swinging barrels over their head with knives in their hands, they were accused of all the same things that immigrants of today are accused of Italians Jews. You know, there was the Chinese exclusion act, same. I mean, the stories just repeat themselves. But like at the, at the completion of the transcontinental railroad, you know, we had the railroad companies have gone to China to bring laborers over the, the railroad gets completed.
There's a slight downturn in the economy. Some white laborers can't find work. And the scapegoat for that are Chinese workers, Chinese immigrants. So because the west is more powerful now, after the completion of the railroad, there are, they are able to get the Chinese exclusion act, which for 80 years banned Chinese immigration to the United States. All because there was a slight downturn in the economy. And I'm certain that none of those people actually like ran the data and the reports about whether this group of Chinese immigrants was actually taking jobs away from them. You know? So this just, it's all repeat regurgitated rhetoric about immigrants. That's false, but there's always been these camps, you know, the camp of xenophobia and anybody other than us wrong. And then there's always been, the camp of America is diverse and, and diversity is beautiful. And the data and the science is on that side also about what it means for the health of our nation, to have people coming in from all over the globe and bringing their talents to us.
Do you want to stand out from the crowd with your content, come discover how to market yourself as an expert, as a change maker, as a positive influence on other people's lives with the exponential marketing club, you will learn the ins and outs of content marketing. That makes a difference in the world. Visit sallyhendrick.com/club.
And what happens though, when it comes to, let's say someone comes here and they are on a work visa, or they're on, you know, I have, I have a friend who was on a 10 year work visa, which is pretty much like an invitation to come and create a life here. And then you can get your green card and do all the things you're supposed to do, but they hit so many hiccups in the system that if you signed up for this particular thing, it made you not eligible for this. And then if you did this, you had to wait 10 years, or you had to wait two years, you had to do this or whatever. And it was so complicated that I was just like, how do you navigate this? And a lot of people either give up or they overextend their visa and then considered undocumented at that point. Right. And it's, it's a mess. How do you even untangle that? Yeah.
And half of the undocumented population now entered legally. And that's really because after 9/11, the border shut down, the border has not been porous since 2005. You know, it's been closed since then, despite what a lot of people would have a think. Most people who are here without status came in on a visa and got caught in the web in some, in some form or fashion. And it is the immigration code and the immigration nationality act is as complex as the tax code. I mean, what immigration lawyers do is same level of complexity as tax attorneys. It, like you said, there's so many little pitfalls loop holes changes in policy. I mean, in fact, when I was exploring becoming an immigration lawyer, I did some interim informational interviews with other lawyers. And one of the things I really wanted in a career path was something that was going to always keep my interest.
I didn't want to like learn something and then do that thing that I had learned for the rest of my life. I wanted to always be learning. And it was real clear to me that an immigration I was never going to just know it all, you know? And that it, you know, it's on, that's a plus side for me in that small area because it keeps me interested, but also it's a big downside for most immigrants that the system is as opaque and complex as it is because people don't, they get themselves into trouble without realizing it.
Yeah. And they do. And it it's a problem because then they've really, they do have to hire an attorney to try to untangle the mess and see what they can or cannot do. And it's very complicated. Not only is it complicated for anyone to understand, imagine doing that in English, isn't your first language? I'm sure though that a lot of the materials do come with Spanish translations, but I will mention a few years ago, I helped my, a friend of mine to get her oldest son on DACA for the dreamer program. Her youngest child was born here. Her middle child and her oldest were not born here, but the only one that was eligible at the time was the oldest child and the forms. It was scary. She was like, please help me with this. And I'm like, oh my gosh.
And she goes, we can't mess it up because if we mess it up, then we lose our chance. And I'm like, oh my gosh, the responsibility, it was really frightening. And we were going to talk with an attorney about it, but the timing wasn't right. And we didn't have enough time to get it all done. We did get it to go through. And he was able to get his status with that. But after several years of issues with, you know, healthcare problems, her husband broke his hand, he lost his job. There's all these different things that were happening. It seemed like they kept running into one problem after another. And I finally just loaded all their stuff up and moved back to beliefs.
Do you have a dog learn unleashed potential dog training secrets with duke Ferguson, this free video series, we'll get you pro training tips. So you can get your dog's attention, eliminate behavioral problems and enhance your relationship in just 20 minutes a day. Sign up at sallyhendrick.com/dogtraining.
Too bad. Yeah. I think that is an unfortunate outcome of a lot of our policies is that people
And they had, they had the year work phases and they literally were about a year over them when all their problems just started happening and they just could not get it to work out. It was very sad. But as far as like, I know that we're, we're going to try to wrap things up right now. The last thing I'd like to talk about is what, what is your hope for the future with this? What do you see on the horizon that is the silver lining, the good thing that may becoming or what do you hope for at least
You have a provision for the dreamers in the new budget reconciliation bill, that's headed through Congress. And because it's part of the budget you know three fists instead of a three fist, majority, just a simple majority as needed to get it passed. And then there's some, because it's the budget, there's some ways that make it easier to get it through. And I'm hopeful that we might actually see something for the dreamers which is a small sliver of the population important one, but a very small sliver of the population. I mean, I am still hopeful that we will have comprehensive immigration reform. We have a large undocumented population in the United States. Anyone who, who crunches the numbers acknowledges that it's not even feasible. It would be vastly harmful and detrimental to us to try to deport everyone we can't.
And so therefore given that understanding you know, even if you come at it from the Republican angle, it makes more sense to offer legal status to these people so that they get a social security number, file their 10 forties, you know, like the shadows, regardless of which side on that makes more sense. If we can all just acknowledge that it's not possible. I'm of course on my side, I don't also don't think it's humane. But I think we need immigration reform that acknowledges the population that's here addresses the backlogs in the family and employment-based immigration system, so that we don't have these ridiculous 20 year waits for brothers and sisters of us citizens to be able to immigrate here. That's absurd. And then I think we finally need to get honest with ourselves about the fact that this is a growing economy.
It's an aging population that has a need for immigrant labor and will continue to have a need for immigrant labor. And therefore our laws need to acknowledge and allow for immigrants to come in. What we have had for 40 years instead is a reality of an economy that needs immigrant labor, but a Congress and an illegal system that doesn't acknowledge that. So we sort of like wink, wink, you know, invite immigrants to come in and work even they're undocumented, cause there's plenty of jobs for them, but there's no legal way for them to do that because the laws don't keep up with the reality. So it's just absurd. We need to fix it. And you know, when that happens, I cannot answer that for you. There've been many times over the years, I keep thinking it's going to happen, but I think 9/11 was really, really set us back in terms of xenophobia and starting the division about immigration.
Well, I'm hopeful that something will come about in this administration now, unfortunately COVID has kind of created this huge interrupter to everything, but in a way it's also been a catalyst to really bring out the truth from a lot of people. You mean, you see things now today in a different light, a lot of people are paying attention that weren't before a lot of people were sleepy to the reality around them. And now they're like, okay, there's, there's a lot of problems we have in this country. We're not as on the ball as we think we are or have been. And a lot of people did know that, but now it's coming out and being made more obvious to the rest of us.
No, I mean, I think we're only just beginning to see how much of a catalyst this pandemic has been. It certainly has been for me and my practice and my life. But I, you know, and I look forward to seeing the social progress that comes out of this as, as a result of this.
Well, thank you very much. I really have enjoyed talking with you today and I can't wait to share this episode. We get it out there in just a couple of weeks. So everybody thank very much for listening to Shout Your Cause today and thank you to Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch. And we will have some show notes on the website and links to Kate's information online and on social media. And we'll talk to you next time. Thanks Sally.
Thank you for listening today. My name is Sally Hendrick. Be sure to visit our website for show notes and more information on how you can inspire others. If you would like to contribute content to our magazine, please apply on our website at shoutyourcause.com.