The holiday season is the merriest and the busiest time for everybody.

People put aside everything and concentrate on the holidays.

Filipinos celebrate the holidays with the traditional noche buena, a midnight feast on Christmas Eve shared by family members in welcoming Christmas.

On Christmas Day itself, it is the traditional family reunion.

After Christmas, people go shopping again, this time for bargains, to send gifts through balikbayan boxes to the Philippines.

On New Year’s Eve, Filipinos joyously celebrate the coming year again, with family and friends.

However, many Filipinos in America are separated from their family because of their immigration problems.

These Filipinos may have been so busy celebrating the holidays, that they postpone even the most important things, including solving their immigration problems.

But amid the endless parties, the shopping sprees, the balikbayan boxes of gifts to be sent to family back home, and the Christmas decorations, we all know that deep in their hearts, they wish the rest of their family were here with them to celebrate the holidays.

These Filipinos recall those New Year’s Eve celebrations of long ago, and as the holiday season draws to a close, one question pops up in their minds:

“When can I celebrate Christmas and the New Year with my family again?”

When can I personally give my gift, and see the surprised look in my child's face?

When can I give my child a hug, rather than year after year sending balikbayan boxes and merely greeting each other on overseas calls?

Or, if the child is in the U.S., the parent feels guilty because the child is also TNT, and the parent did nothing to legalize the family’s status.

For those already in legal status, you should resolve to petition your family members now, so that you can spend the holiday season with them in the very near future.

For those still illegal in the United States, it would be a good New Year’s resolution to do everything possible so that you can legalize your status and bring your family members to the U.S. and be with them in the coming holiday seasons.

Or, if your family is in the U.S., you should take steps so you all can finally be legal.

If you can only make good these resolutions, I can assure you that your family will have the best holiday in the coming new year.

You should seek the advice of a reputable attorney to discuss your options and choices.

I hope that next year, you will be able to celebrate the holidays with your family.

I would like to thank all of my clients and viewers of "Citizen Pinoy," for your trust and support of my law office this past year.

It is my wish that in the coming years, I will be able to bring even more families together, and help my clients achieve their “American Dream.”

Maraming salamat po at Manigong Bagong Taon!


Michael J. Gurfinkel is licensed, and an active member of the State Bar of California and New York.

All immigration services are provided by, or under the supervision of, an active member of the State Bar of California.

Each case is different.

The information contained herein (including testimonials, “Success Stories,” endorsements and re-enactments) is of a general nature, and is not intended to apply to any particular case, and does not constitute a prediction, warranty, guarantee or legal advice regarding the outcome of your legal matter.

No attorney-client relationship is, or shall be, established with any reader.


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