My father always wanted me to be a lawyer. Like many Muslim parents, he was thinking of a job that was safe, secure, and lacking in ostentation. So I went to law school, passed the Bar Exam in my first attempt, and was sworn in as an attorney in May 2012.
But instead of choosing a safe, secure desk job that kept me tied up in paperwork from 9am to 5pm, I chose a job in criminal defence, defending people accused of serious felony offences both in the state of Illinois and federally across the United States. I spent my days with (alleged) gangsters, robbers, and murderers, and I was honoured to do so. I chose to be the kind of lawyer that fights.
When Donald Trump signed an executive order that has widely come to be known as the Muslim ban, I was at a loss for what to do. I had been trained to fight the good fight, but without any knowledge of immigration law, what was I supposed to do? My strength lay in defending sexual assault cases, not treading through the minefield of complex immigration laws.