Maneesha Mukhi, ’09, has spent the past five years working to make the visa process easier for immigrants in the United States.
- By January 10, 2019
- Social Impact
In 2016 she launched the site that would become AskEllis.com to help people in and out of the United States with matters such as green card applications, naturalization, work visas, and more. It includes a blog that offers essential information about immigration and answers questions such as: "Can I switch jobs during the green card process?" But most crucially, the site curates a small network of experienced immigration lawyers to help make at least one part of the immigration process easier. All of the attorneys are screened and have at least five years of experience. Many are specialists (in fields such as startups, asylum and refugees, employment, removal and deportation, and more). The name, Ask Ellis, references Ellis Island: the symbol of the American dream.
Mukhi explained that finding the right immigration lawyer has never been more important. Immigration rules are changing at lightning speed, and the system has become increasingly unforgiving of paperwork errors. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance to stay in the United States, and the lawyers can help with this, Mukhi said.
Ask Ellis has seen double-digit growth in clients over the two years it's been active. So far, the site has 20 New York–based lawyers, as well as partnerships with other attorneys throughout the United States.
When prospective clients reach out, Mukhi said, often the content on the site is enough to answer their questions. But if not, she tries to find them a good match with a lawyer who can help them settle in. She's now comfortably settled in the United States, and she wants to help others navigate the system so that they can stay as well. "It's the American dream," she said.
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