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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

A TESTIMONY TO SURVIVAL

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One of my long-time paralegals at Siskind Susser, PC is Esther Schacther Fridman. Esther, who grew up here in Memphis, is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. In 2005, she married Benny Fridman, an Israeli who was on a work visa in Memphis at the time. The two moved to Israel shortly thereafter and Esther continues working with the firm on writing projects. Esther and Benny are the subject of a new documentary which premiered in Memphis last night. The union of Esther and Benny is unusual - their eight grandparents were all Holocaust survivors.

I am friends with two of Esther's grandparents who are quite well and living here in Memphis. The two were part of the first group of refugees to enter the United States as actual refugees. They were beneficiaries of the US signing the United Nations Convention on Refugees and it is that treaty which has shaped US refugee and asylum policy for the last 60 years.

There are now only 30 Holocaust survivors remanining in Memphis. But even after that generation is gone, there are thousands of refugees here representing a rich variety of nationalities, ethnicities, religions and cultures. Their presence will be an enduring reminder of America's commitment to welcome those around the world fleeing oppression and our continuing to accept and aid refugees is something about which our country can be proud.

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