Hillary G. Walsh, founder and president of New Frontier Immigration Law in Arizona, knows what it takes to meet challenges head-on and work to overcome them. She also knows that before people can address their path’s obstacles, they must first face their fears.
Her belief that there is a solution for every problem inspires her to help documented immigrants from all over the globe–from Mexico, the Philippines, and China, among others–seek a new life in the United States, one that erases the common fears immigrants have, including deportation, housing, lack of job opportunities and medical care, just to name a few.
“I help documented immigrant live free in the United States,” she recently said during an interview with The Mental Health Toolbox. “My real passion lies in helping people who don’t have papers get papers, and the best is when they are able to leave the country and go home for the first time in sometimes decades and see their families in their home country, and of course, return with ease and with papers and live life in a much more free way.”
Walsh Understands Nuances and Challenges of Immigration Law
Helping immigrants live free in the U.S. without fear is one of the reasons Walsh started New Frontier Immigration Law. And, what is living free? Having a driver’s license, a Social Security number, and permission to work, she says. “Immigrants cannot live free if they do not have control over their lives,” she says, but this is where her law firm comes in – Walsh and her staff show immigrants the way to a life of freedom.
Walsh, an award-winning immigration lawyer with 11 years of experience in immigration court, has represented appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court. She also has appeared before the Supreme Court of Nevada, the Ninth, Sixth, and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and immigration courts nationwide.
She started her immigration law firm with limited resources. In the early days of her law firm, she wore multiple hats and even had to be her own receptionist. Now, her law firm has more than 90 employees who help her help people trying to establish themselves in a new life and a new country. She personalizes each client’s case, connecting with them and their families, as she protects their rights and represents their interests.
Walsh’s Experiences Help Her Understand Hurdles Immigrants Face Inside, Outside the Court System
Before she graduated from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law, and became an attorney in 2012, Walsh’s experiences with the legal system were of a different kind. During her teen years, she spent a short time in foster care after a turbulent period in her family’s history, and that interaction with the legal process, she says, helped lay the foundation for her career in immigration law.
Her experiences in the foster care system helped her understand and emotionally connect with a population of people who face the U.S. judicial system, familial hardships, including abuse, and steep consequences, including whether they can keep their families together during a legally challenging time.
“My foster care experience and my juvie experience were pretty short lived, but you spend any time in those environments and they make a big impression,” she said during an interview with LawHer. “So that was a very important experience for me, but the thing that was a big takeaway for me in how I’ve used this to help me in my life now 20 plus years later is just having a lot of gratitude and appreciation for going through that experience so that I can better connect with my clients because I’m an immigration lawyer.”
Travel Experiences Abroad Also Contributed to Mission to Help Immigrants
Even though she hasn’t experienced the U.S. immigration process personally, other life experiences have inspired her to pursue immigration law, such as her travels abroad and interest in human rights. She volunteered at an orphanage in Uganda where she saw the harsh realities affecting children there, some of them boys who lived on the street, some of them former child soldiers. She also understands the challenges of finding employment. When she lived in Korea, where her husband was stationed at the time, it was difficult to find work. She started doing immigration appeals remotely for people in Arizona from Korea. “That is how I learned immigration law,” she told Rankings.io.
Walsh’s interest in working for an Arizona-based nonprofit eventually brought her back to the United States, a move that eventually led her to create a multimillion-dollar law firm, New Frontier Immigration Law, which offers various services, including family-based immigration petitions, immigration waivers, deportation defense, immigration appeals, and more.
Walsh Expresses Hope for U.S. Immigration Reform and the Future
Walsh understands the complexities of U.S. immigration laws, including how they create different circumstances and realities for people of color. She has seen undocumented immigrants’ difficult and dangerous situations and understands their attempts to get to safety. Despite her passion for immigration law and her work to help immigrants solve their legal challenges, she urges immigration reform and hopes to see it happen within the next decade.
When she is not in the court or helping her clients, Walsh, a wife and mother of four children, is in the classroom teaching immigration and family law or hosting her podcast “Immigration Law (Made Easy!),” where she shares insights and information about U.S. immigration law and immigrant advocacy from her 10-plus years of working in immigration law. She started the podcast to help others, which aligns with the work she believes she was created to do.
She also believes that despite their differences, people can work to find common ground. “I’m really optimistic that I think that through conflict, connection can be made,” she told LawHer. “Maybe then we can start to put our shoes next to more people’s. We don’t have to put their shoes on our feet to be able to connect with them.”