Journeys from There to Here

Stories of Immigrant Trials, Triumphs, and Contributions

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Pub Date 02 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021
Greenleaf Book Group, River Grove Books

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A famous writer exiled from Albania and Greece.

A Somali nomad-turned-multinational banker.

An Asian-born virtuoso violinist with perfect pitch, and many more . . .

In this eye-opening collection of immigrant trials, triumphs, and contributions, leading immigration lawyer Susan Cohen invites you to walk with her clients as they share their incredible journeys coming to America while overcoming unimaginable dangers and often heartbreaking obstacles abroad. Cohen masterfully uplifts marginalized voices, laying bare the remarkable realities of staggering hardships and inspiring resilience. Sprinkled with amusing anecdotes, tense junctures, and heartwarming segments, you will sit front and center at the courtroom learning about US immigration policies and systems—which often become an immigrant’s greatest hurdle—while also discovering the ways unscrupulous American citizens take advantage of those not born in the States. As you ride the ups and downs and follow the zig-zagging twists and turns of their travails, you will discover the many ways immigrants from all over the world give back to their local communities and enrich the fabric of the nation. Finding yourself enmeshed in their stories, you will gain insight, grow in empathy, and come to understand what it truly takes to become an American citizen. 

A famous writer exiled from Albania and Greece.

A Somali nomad-turned-multinational banker.

An Asian-born virtuoso violinist with perfect pitch, and many more . . .

In this eye-opening...

Advance Praise

“Not numbers. Not faceless individuals. Each case a person. Her dreams, his pain, her ambition, his loves, her fear, his despair. We stagger as we try to understand our nation’s benefit from and yet deep fear of immigrants. This slender and uplifting volume guides us to new understandings of exactly what is at stake for our future. A must read, as important now as ever.” —Margaret H. Marshall, immigrant, and former chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

“Susan Cohen’s masterful case studies of the adventures of eleven of her immigration clients are rich in detail, but the book ultimately tells a single tale, shot like an arrow: Would-be immigrants to the United States can run a gauntlet of atrocities in their countries of origin, only to encounter unreasonable obstruction later from the inaptly named ‘immigration and naturalization’ services of our own government. “The stories are poignant, terrifying, and maddening, evoking pity and terror in the mode of a Greek tragedy. “At the end of the day, however, the book is uplifting. The heartbeat of Susan Cohen’s narrative is the heartbeat of the immigrants themselves, intensely grateful for the opportunity to work hard to create a secure life for themselves and their children. “Anyone reading this book will find it a small wonder that nearly half of all ‘Fortune 500’ companies in the United States are led by immigrants or the children of immigrants as CEO’s. By the time they raise their hand to take the oath of allegiance before a federal judge, many have passed through a crucible and have the strength and resilience of tempered steel.” —William Weld, United States attorney for Massachusetts from 1981–1986, governor from 1991–1997, and a law partner of Susan Cohen.

“For renowned immigration lawyer Susan Cohen, each migrant has as a story to tell even though these stories are often tragically lost in the highly politicized immigration debate. The stories of these eleven brave people and their families are a powerful reminder that America must live up to its promise as a democratic beacon of hope for people around the world by welcoming immigrants and being a land where justice and compassion prevail.” —John Sanders, former acting commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

“From the front lines of the fight for immigrant justice, one of the nation’s leading immigration attorneys, shares the stories of courageous immigrants she helps every day. Chapter-by-chapter, story-by-story, Susan Cohen shines light on the way our antiquated and, at times, cruel immigration system treats the stranger among us.” —Ali Noorani, executive director, National Immigration Forum “Behind every immigrant is a human story. Susan Cohen brings these stories to life with inspiring accounts of her clients, who braved many hardships to join, and help constitute, our nation of immigrants. An essential antidote to the anti-immigrant rhetoric that too often dominates US politics.” —David Cole, national legal director, ACLU; author of Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism

“Susan Cohen has written an important book full of insight, honesty and wisdom. As an experienced immigration lawyer, she speaks from the front lines. The stories she tells will move you and remind you why immigration is so vital to America’s future.” —Bill Bradley, former United States senator

“Susan Cohen’s Journeys from There to Here puts names and faces to the headlines we read on America’s immigration and asylum problems. Too often we see only the numbers—more than 200,000 people apprehended at our southern border each month in mid-2021—but miss the actual details of who these people are, why they come, and what they contribute to America if we welcome them. Cohen introduces us to remarkable people and the hurdles they face, not just to get here but to remain in the face of open hostility from some politicians. It will make you cry and smile—but most of all it will make you proud that we are a country that offers hope and promise for so many.” —Linda Chavez, former director of public liaison in the White House under President Reagan and frequent writer on immigration issues.

“This fascinating, challenging, and stimulating book by Susan J. Cohen with Steven T. Taylor truly helps others to walk a mile in immigrants’ shoes. A penetrating book with great insight and practical suggestions, this is a must read for CEOs of corporations, religious heads, and university presidents.” —Sudarshana Devadhar, resident bishop, New England Conference—United Methodist Church

“In the moving and inspiring stories of these diverse immigrants—including refugees fleeing political, religious, ethnic persecution—this distinguished immigration attorney has drawn on her vast experience and wisdom to paint a haunting picture of America’s dysfunctional immigration and asylum system. These stories compellingly portray the vast array of gifts and benefits that these immigrants, representative of the vast majority of immigrants to our country, have bestowed on America. And yet, the vivid depictions of their plights belie our biblical values of welcoming the stranger and show us that we must act now to improve our immigration systems and do better in opening our hearts to those seeking refuge and freedom when they come to our shores.” —Rabbi David Saperstein, former US ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom; senior advisor for policy and strategy, Union for Reform Judaism

“With remarkable clarity and unique insight, Susan Cohen’s Journeys from There to Here offers readers an important and unusual close-up connection with eleven of her clients—their remarkable stories, extraordinary resilience, and harrowing pathways to citizenship. Emblematic of the thousands of immigrants who are essential members of our communities and our social fabric, Susan reminds that the vast majority of us are immigrants, and these immigrants’ personal stories are all of ours. Having worked and lived in many of the places from which the clients featured in this book have fled, and seen first-hand the circumstances that moved them to make the painful decisions that led them to the US, I was moved by the joys and losses this book shared through intimate and informed personal narratives. Susan elegantly illustrates their remarkable resilience and integrity and their social and economic contributions to our communities and to our democratic systems and the rule of law. With her deep understanding of the intricacies of US immigration law and the dangerous politicization of their plight, she shares our outrage and most importantly leaves readers with clear actions for how each of us can engage and support immigrants’ rights and those who heroically represent them at great personal sacrifice each day. An important read for all who care about social justice and believe in our common humanity.” —Abby Maxman, president and CEO, Oxfam America

“This magnificent book tells the lasting story of this country—the immigrant story—through a banker, scientist, philosopher, musician, social scientist, educator, and refugees from Sudan, China, and North and East Africa, and their remarkable lawyer Susan Cohen. This is a book about ‘immigrants of the world’ who are multicultural and grace our country with their immense talents and who chose a lawyer whose skills, dedication, and empathy transformed their lives and our citizenry.” —Ira Kurzban, author, Kurzban’s Immigration Law Sourcebook; former president, American Immigration Lawyers Association

“Susan Cohen’s narratives, from the first to the last, no doubt will inspire lawyers to step up and take on immigration cases pro bono. But the true resonance of her words is found in how she opens minds and hearts to the myriad ways in which immigrants strengthen our country. Journeys from There to Here reminds us that while our country may provide immigrants with opportunity, it is the immigrants themselves who give our country the opportunity to be a nation of promise, hope, and limitless potential.” —Judy Perry Martinez, past president, American Bar Association, 2019–2020

“The captivating portraits in Journeys from There to Here serve as a powerful reminder that immigrants from all faith backgrounds and all walks of life strengthen America with their talents, their diversity, and their love for this country. This is a must-read book for anyone who wants to truly understand the American immigrant experience from start to finish in all its richness and complexity. America’s greatness is found in peace, justice, unity and coexistence for all.” —Imam Sheikh Sa’ad Musse Roble, founder and president, World Peace Organization

“Recounting the formidable journeys of several of her immigrant clients, distinguished Boston attorney, Susan Cohen, brings to light the pitfalls of our archaic, haphazard, and often painfully sluggish immigration system. At times both heartbreaking and joyous, Cohen beautifully recounts the implicit exceptionalism, strength, resilience, and determination of those who seek a safer and more prosperous life in America, while allowing readers a glimpse into a uniquely exhausting, life-altering legal process. Demonstrating impressive expertise and remarkable compassion, Cohen weaves striking immigrant stories with a timely reminder about what it means to be a welcoming America.” —Kristie De Peña, vice president of policy and director of immigration, Niskanen Center

“These stories are a 360-degree telling of the immigration journey, enriched throughout by the clear-headedness and extraordinary sympathy of the author. The ‘human face of immigration’ shines through on every page.” —R.H. Reese, co-founder, City of Asylum, Pittsburgh

“Not numbers. Not faceless individuals. Each case a person. Her dreams, his pain, her ambition, his loves, her fear, his despair. We stagger as we try to understand our nation’s benefit from and yet...

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