Cover Art for CBaS episode with Tahmina Watson on immigration law and more

In this episode, I have the great pleasure of interviewing a special guest. Tahmina Watson is a Seattle based immigration attorney, podcaster and activist. For her community work, Tahmina was recently recognized as a 2020 Woman of Influence honoree by the Puget Sound Business Journal [PSBJ]. She is the founder of Watson Immigration Law and founder of the Washington Immigrant Defense Network.

Tahmina works with leading national publications as a commentator and columnist and speaks around the country on immigration law and social justice issues. She serves as a national spokesperson for the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the chair of the response committee of the Washington chapter of AILA.

Tahmina also serves as a trustee of the board of King County Bar Association in Washington, a past president of King County Washington Women Lawyers, and a former board member of both the Asian Bar Association of Washington and Washington Women Lawyers.

In addition to being recognized for her work by PSBJ, she’s a recipient of the 2019 AILa president’s commendation award. Tahmina Talks Immigration Podcast is available on Apple podcast and wherever you listen to podcasts. I listened to some of her episodes earlier today. Legal Heroes in the Trump Era is Tahmina’s second book, which was released this past week.

You can find her and additional information by visiting and that link and all the things we talk about will be in the show notes .

This podcast was recorded on Sept 30, 2020.

Your Challenge Invitation

Tahmina invites all of her to read her recently released book Legal Heroes in the Trump Era: be inspired, expand your impact, change the world. In the book, you will read stories of what ordinary people have been doing, be they mothers, lawyers, fathers. Read the book and be inspired.

Next, channel your inspiration. Identity a skill within you that you can use to help people. Don’t sit back. This is not a time in history in the world to sit back. Look around you and find a problem that bugs you. Then identity what skills you have that can be used to contribute to solving that problem. It doesn’t have to be something big. Grassroots efforts can make a big impact. Focus on what you can do, no matter how small it is.

Contact and follow

You can find Tahmina’s at or, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

We are connected so deeply that this should be a wake up call that we all need to care for each other.

Timeline of the Chat

02:29 – Tahmina’s recently released second book
05:19 – Education on two continents
06:11 – How immigration law found her
09:31 – Working as an immigration lawyer
13:02 – On immigration
18:26 – On climate change
21:51 – Dealing with discouraging results/events
26:28 – Supporting women who have been abuse
34:01 – What is Tahmina’s purpose
35:37 – Tahmina’s Challenge
37:50 – How to support Tahmina’s work
39:48 – Audio book recommendations

We are so connected that we have to make sure that there are some global solutions to what to do with people who are displaced and welcome them.

Quick Links

Note that Amazon Links are affiliate links. This means that I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases made at Amazon if you use this link to make a purchase.

Everybody has a vibration and whatever energy that you’re putting out, whether it’s good or bad, it affects your surroundings.

Transcript of the Episode

Tahmina’s recently released second book

 Damianne: [02:31] I imagine that one of the most exciting things right now is that your second book is about to be released Legal Heroes in the Trump Era. Tell us a bit about that book and what compelled you to write it.

Tahmina: [02:43] Thank you so very much. Yes. The book is actually coming out on Friday and the book is a compilation of stories from lawyers who have stepped up in the last four years, which includes the story of what I have done over the last four years as well. 

As an immigration attorney, it’s been a very exhausting and difficult time because this administration has implemented a lot of adverse immigration policies. And as we look towards the future with the new election coming up soon, I was compelled to write these stories because there’s a lot to learn from the past that you can use as you move ahead, whether it’s good days or bad days.

And so my hope is that people, particularly in America, but all around the world, will be inspired by the stories of ordinary people who have been doing extraordinary things. 

Damianne: [03:44] So Who do you hope will read the book? Who’s your target audience?

Tahmina: [03:48] You know it starts with lawyers, for sure, because we are at a time in history where lawyers really need to protect the rule of law in this country. As you might know, America has gone around the world to make sure that the rule of law is established properly whereas we are in a time in history where the rule of law is in crisis right here. 

Lawyers have been trained in the rule of law to the ideology of it; it’s the basic framing of a society. So when fundamental issues in a country is at stake – people around the world have seen the recent unrest that we have had in this country – we need lawyers for every aspect.

So my target audience, firstly, are lawyers, but really it’s a story about anybody stepping up in crisis. Whether you’re listening in America, you’re in Europe somewhere or somewhere in a different part of the world, there are crises everywhere you go, whether it’s the climate change crisis, whether it’s a political crisis, whether it’s a crisis that has been exposed because of the pandemic. Ordinary people will always step up and they already exist. But it’s making sure that you, the individual, you who are hearing these stories and getting inspired to see what skills you can bring out and help people.

Education on two continents

Damianne: [05:20] I found it interesting that you went to school in the UK and so you went to the bar in the UK as well as in America, is that right?

Tahmina: [05:28] That’s right. So I was born and raised in the UK. And then when I got married to an American, I moved here. And so then I had to take the bar exams all over again, but I was practicing law in the UK as a barrister for a short time before I moved here. And, you know, it’s an interesting time everywhere.

Brexit is causing a lot of issues in the UK. You know, immigration is clearly one of the top issues there as well. And so my message is really for people, not just in America, but people around the world. We need to come together and really need to be one. We need to be one in the humanity that we share because ultimately that’s what needs to be taken care of.

How immigration law found her [06:12]

Damianne: [06:12] And this connects directly to the work that you do as well. You have your own firm and previous to that you worked for four years as a partner in immigration law as well. What prompted you to open up your own firm? 

Tahmina: [06:27] Long story short, when I moved to the United States, I really actually didn’t want to practice immigration law. You know, I was a barrister in the UK doing trial work in the criminal courts and some civil work. And I thought my path was in litigation. But when I moved to the United States, I realized the pathway for education was different for me and the legal system in America is very different from the UK. 

People who don’t live here, for your audience, the United States has 50 States and each state has its own laws and then we have the overarching laws known as federal laws. To practice in one state to another state to another, often you have to have a license for that particular state, meaning that you have to then take the exams for that particular state.

 I took the New York bar exams because it was something I could do having come out of law school in the UK. I didn’t have to go to law school again but then that limited me in the areas of law I could practice living in Washington state on the other side of the country. But immigration is federal law and it just, very long story short, it landed on my lap.

 After grappling with my own internal demons about I don’t want to practice immigration law, I said okay, well let me just do this for a little while. And what’s interesting is the very first day I started practicing immigration law, I had this aha moment that this is what I was meant to do and until I accepted it, it kept following me and following me and following me.

And the reason I love it so much it is very intellectually challenging but you are actually seeing the impact on somebody’s life immediately. You are also working with a variety of people from the battered, abused spouse, often it’s a woman, to the CEO who has invested a lot of money to open a business in the US hiring lots of people. You get everybody in between. And when I file a case and I get an approval, the timeline could be maybe six months, sometimes a little bit quicker, but you’re seeing the impact on somebody’s life.

And the most rewarding experience is when somebody screams in your ear, knowing that they just got their green card. It’s a privilege to have that excitement to share with somebody where their life has completely changed. And now in my office, whenever there’s good news to share, I make sure that people in my team have the privilege of sharing that good news, because it truly is a privilege to impact somebody’s life where their livelihood, their life, their security, stability is all now out of their concern; they can now live their life. It’s been a very rewarding journey for the last 15 years.

Working as an immigration lawyer [09:32]

That’s so important and that directly connects to my next question which is who are your clients? What do you do as an immigration lawyer? We hear about immigration lawyers and we might guess but if you could tell us from your own perspective.

Yeah, well, that’s a really good question. Thank you. And it’s one of the most basic things that it’s difficult to understand what we do. On a very basic term, it’s really somebody who wants to either live or work in the US, somebody who wants to come here and find a pathway to stay here for longer than just 90 days as Europeans do, or work here whether it’s for a short term or a long term.

The way I describe it as I’m either uniting loved ones or I’m helping people create dreams as well as fulfill their own dreams by opening businesses or hiring employees. And so the broad terms are family-based immigration and employment-based immigration and within employment-based often that’s people who are investing.

And so when somebody calls me, the typical question is what do you want? Do you want to work here? Do you want to live here? If you want to live here, what are your connections? Do you have any loved ones? Who are they? Are those the people that can sponsor you potentially, often it’s a spouse or a fiance or a child or a parent.

And one myth I think it’s very important for your audience to know, because we have a president who uses words out of context and the understanding is family based immigration is really immediate relatives, parents children, spouses, sometimes siblings but I can describe it as bullseye. 

Bullseye is the direct relation and only those people can come in and on the outskirts, it’s really siblings as well as children who are married and have their own children but that’s it. And so when this president came into office, he started to use the word chain migration, and nobody really knew what chain migration was, but chain migration wasn’t a commonly used word.

It’s really family based immigration. He started to put a derogatory connotation to it but it really is immediate family and how long it takes to get here depends on the distance of the relationship from the example of the bullseye. 

The other category is employment-based where somebody will say, Hey, I have businesses in South America or Europe or Southeast Asia and I want to open a branch here. Or somebody will already be an American business owner saying, Hey, I have an employee who lives in Korea and I want to hire that person. And so employment-based is often really finding visa categories to suit that particular situation.

 Now, America doesn’t have that many visa categories and you might have heard of H1B visa. It’s the most popular professional visa, but you know, I also help entertainers who are musicians or dancers; it’s been a privilege to help a lot of Bollywood actors and entertainers, but also religious workers, people who are coming here to be priests or imams or rabbis and teach religious education.

So that’s how I get the experience of working with so many different types of people with different backgrounds. It enriches my team; it definitely enriches this country.

On immigration [13:01]

Damianne: [13:01] Connected to that, what do you wish Americans knew about immigration?

Tahmina: [13:06] You know, the first thing I would want everybody to appreciate is that America is a land of immigrants. If you are not native American, your ancestors came from somewhere, potentially from Europe, and often they came here because of religious persecution. And so when immigrants came here and I would ask your audience to perhaps, if they’re curious about American history, there is a documentary series called America, the Story of Us.

 I wrote my first book and it was published in 2015, but I wrote it in 2014, it’s called A Startup Visa, a visa for people who are starting companies. We don’t have a specific one for it but at the time, I watched this documentary almost as an education for myself, and it’s a beautifully made documentary with animation and beautiful graphics, but it’s a snapshot of where America started.

 Immigrants came to this country where they had seeds that they basically started to trade and all of that led to what we have today. And so if there’s one thing I want Americans, all Americans, to appreciate is that we’re immigrants no matter how many generations you have been here and we all make contributions.

Some of the things that they don’t remember or even know is that some of the common things that we have in America that are now global names are created by immigrants. If you think about Levi’s jeans, Levi came from Europe. There is the department store called Nordstrom here. It’s a very popular luxury brand department store; he was Swedish who came here. You are now wearing headphones but there is a name called Bose in the electronics world, very famous; he’s an immigrant who started Bose in America. 

If you think about this pandemic that we’re living in, a modern day example is that people are using WhatsApp to communicate around the world; that was founded by an immigrant. So the fabric of this country is intertwined with immigration stories, and it’s very important that people appreciate it. If you appreciate it, you know that you can grow this and make us all flourish.

If we all do well, we all do well. And we’re at a time in this country where there’s so much divisiveness that people forget their roots and it’s all about what is in it for me. But if you expand your thoughts and you think about everybody, we all do well. So I want people to remember that collective growth is very, very important.

 Damianne: [16:05] Yeah, I remember being startled one time sitting at a dinner table in Namibia. I was on a holiday and I was sitting at a table with people from different places including some white Australians. And at some point the conversation went to immigration and they started bemoaning the fact that there are so many Asian immigrants in Australia and I was flabbergasted. I eventually said to them isn’t it amazing that you’re making this complaint? You are not Aboriginal people. How is it possible that you don’t value immigration?

 I find it fascinating that people very quickly can become removed from that history and miss even their own place in history in terms of the fact that they’ve benefited from the ability for their parents and their grandparents and great grandparents to have immigrated. 

Tahmina: [17:06] That’s right.

Damianne: [17:06] So if you were to expand this message that you just gave for Americans, and you’ve lived in many places, you have history with also, is it India or Pakistan or…

Tahmina: [17:18] It’s Bangladesh. My parents are from Bangladesh.

Damianne: [17:21] It’s Bangladesh. I’m sorry. So you have a history with Bangladesh. I noticed that you spoke Hindi and Urdu.

Tahmina: [17:28] Very broken, but I can be understood. 

Damianne: [17:32] How would you expand that message to a global audience in terms of immigration?

Tahmina: [17:37] Well, Damianne, thank you so much for asking that question and giving me the opportunity to address it. My hope is that the book will have that message for people around the world. And it starts with one message. You know, immigration truly is a global issue. If you think about the pandemic that we’re all suffering from.

You know, all of us are indoors wherever you are in the world. It started with one tiny little virus in Wuhan, China, tiny that you can’t even see with your eyes. And here we have a pandemic. That alone is an example of how connected we are. There’s not even six degrees of separation anymore. We are connected so deeply that this should be a wake up call that we all need to care for each other.

On climate change [18:27]

And that leads to climate change. Climate change is a global issue that is displacing people all around the world from one place to another. If you think about Europe, people are taking dinghy boats and trying to get from one continent to another because they want to stay alive. The borders of America, people are fleeing violence to just stay alive.

You mentioned Bangladesh, my parents’ home country. Climate change is a big problem. I lived in Bangladesh for a little while and I remember learning at school that Bangladesh would be under water at some point because that’s what climate change will do.

I’ll just give the example of America. Just recently in California, wildfires are burning down the state. In Washington state where I live, not only are we stuck indoors because of pandemic, we couldn’t go out because the air quality was so bad. These are examples where I live, but they are examples everywhere, pollution in China for example, the deserts and what have you in Africa.

We are so connected that we have to make sure that there are some global solutions to what to do with people who are displaced and welcome them.

Immigrants don’t want a handout. Canada is a good example of how they treat immigrants. Every refugee that has found a home somewhere else in a different part of the world, they’re not looking for handouts. They’re working hard and contributing to the economy.

I once had somebody on my own podcast called Tahmina Talks Immigration who was the director of International Rescue Committee. And that organization helps refugees settle in America. And she gave an example and statistic that for every $1 that our government spends on a refugee, that refugee is actually contributing $3-4 to the economy.

That is totally a different way of looking at refugee as an economic solution to various problems. So my message is we need a global solution to what immigration needs to be, not necessarily open borders because every country has its own issues. There needs to be some pathways to make sure that there are not necessarily open borders but there needs to be more welcoming policies so that somebody who is dying across the world, whether it’s from a cyclone or a hurricane that’s now the fourth hurricane destroying it. You know, you’re from the Caribbean, what happened in 2019 over there. These coastal countries are going to be suffering from hurricanes like we’ve never seen before just like America suffering from wildfires.

So climate change is truly one of the most important issues to address because not only the world is affected and we need to protect it, but it has all these other correlating issues. 

Damianne: [21:30] What I often say is that it’s all a system, right? And so none of us are in isolation from the other. Even when we would like to pretend that we are, again and again we keep getting the message that we are not; we are connected to each other. We need to start listening to be able to make the world safe for everyone. 

Tahmina: [21:50] That’s right. That’s right.

Dealing with discouraging results/events [21:52]

Damianne: [21:52] You mentioned taking the opportunity to share successes with everyone on your team. How do you deal with discouraging events? There must be times when things don’t quite pan out the way that you would like, or you see what’s happening in America and elsewhere in the world and it is quite discouraging or uninspiring. How do you cope with that?

Tahmina: [22:19] That’s a really profound question and I’ll give you two different examples of situations, one maybe within my team where I have a case that might have issues and what I do on a macro level when I see despair in the world. I want to preface it with 2018 was a turning point for me, where I realized mental health is incredibly important because when you are thrown into chaos and stress constantly, you as a human being are not going to be able to function to the fullest effect, to your potential.

 I started to take meditation lessons because I realized that the immigration policies were so adverse that they were affecting every one of my clients. And I realized that the stress was overwhelming and I needed to find a way in which I could deal with the stress on my own and I wasn’t reflecting on others because that’s what happens.

Everybody has a vibration and whatever energy that you’re putting out, whether it’s good or bad, it affects your surroundings. And so I made a conscious effort to change myself within, and that is really how I have now learned to deal with crises, whether it’s smaller internal ones or bigger ones. And so let’s take an example of something discouraging with my team. I will first try not to react immediately and get upset. It’s very easy to do that but you have to constantly work on that. But once you’ve taken a step back to see what the problem is, then you can actually try to see what is the solution?

What is the first solution? What is the second solution? What are the legal issues I need to research and figure out a way to fix it and present the solution to the client and then work with the client. And sometimes the problems are such that you can’t do anything and then it’s about a mindset depending on what the situation is, but making sure that you find the solution.

There is the glass is half full or the glass is half empty and I always choose to see the glass half full. That was a lesson to learn in whatever that issue was. We learn from that, make sure we solve whatever is at hand and move on to make sure that we have learned from that lesson to then implement in the next situation.

Now on a more macro situation where we have a society in despair, again meditation helps. And this is something that I would encourage wherever you live in the world. The pandemic alone is something that is stressful. People have lost jobs wherever you live in the world. And there’s food insecurity, there’s housing insecurity. It’s everywhere, not just America. So I have found that you’ve got to make sure that you find ways to deal with stress. 

And so if you are not helping yourself internally, you simply cannot help externally. And so I come back to that on a global level and a macro level, and then on how to view the despair that we see. Writing the book was one outlet to make sure people knew that there are good people in the world. 

If everybody looks within themselves to find the good and brings out that to share a little bit of it, we don’t have to spend a lot of time. What is interesting is that you really have to make sure that you don’t lose hope. You have to have hope. If you do not have hope, you cannot put one foot in front of another, no matter what your difficulty is, whether you’re dealing with an illness, a fatal illness that limits your time on earth, or if you’re dealing with something about a loved one, or if it’s a bigger one about what’s going to happen to this country, you’ve got to have hope.

Supporting battered women [26:27]

Damianne: [26:27] Is that one of the things that drives you, because as I mentioned earlier, you do a lot. And one of the things that I notice you’re also involved with is a Seattle based nonprofit group that helps battered women of South Asian background. How did you get involved in that work?

Tahmina: [26:45] The organization’s name is API Chaya, Asian Pacific Islanders, and Chaya means shelter. I’ve been a volunteer with them for as long as I’ve been in America. The way I got involved is two reasons. When I was living in London, when I lived and worked and studied there, I volunteered at a similar organization called Legal Rights for Women. They would provide legal advice to women on the phone who had various different issues to deal with. And I was looking for an organization like that to volunteer with when I moved here. And I also didn’t know anyone. Like the typical immigrant story, mine is not different.

 I moved from one country to another. I left everything that I knew and I have to start again. I wanted to start with thoughtful purpose that I found the things that I feel are important for the values that I hold in helping people. It’s broadened as my experience has grown but my passion at the time and still is women and children. Chaya was one of those organizations but it also helped me find friends, practically family.

When you’re an immigrant and you move to a different country, friends become your family. It’s an organization that is very needed. I’ve been here for 15 years. I moved from England and 15 years is a long time. Fifteen years is also enough time to see the changes in demographic in society. And 15 years ago, this organization was even more important because people didn’t speak all the languages and didn’t have organizations that cater towards one particular demographic. And so I feel very privileged to be able to volunteer with an organization like this. 

 Damianne: [28:39] In those situations, often there is a bit of taboo in terms of who can you speak to, who can you trust. And so I think it’s so important to be able to help women that look like you, that look like us. Of course anybody can help, but I think it does matter to be able to have somebody that you feel this connection with. And sometimes background/ethnicity, does coming into play. 

Tahmina: [29:09] That’s true. One of the other things that happened when I started volunteering with the organization… I didn’t necessarily know I was going to be practicing immigration law, but in immigration law, I found a connection between these organizations because often the women that I was helping, and sometimes still help, needed that help to either live and where to get shelter or food and what have you. Knowing the language, the culture, all of those issues are very important. Why can you not speak to your parents about the abuse that’s happening back in India or Pakistan?

 I have to say I have a happy story and that I was helping a Pakistani woman who’d actually been in the US for 10 years, had a child with a husband, but couldn’t speak a word of English, didn’t know how to ride the bus. She didn’t know how to do anything because her husband brought her over, told the family that he’s getting married, but on paper wasn’t actually married in the US and essentially used her as a slave.

Eventually she was able to leave that relationship. And when I saw her two, three years later, I couldn’t recognize her. She seemed like a different woman. She was smiling, she was confidently waiting for the bus, speaking in English saying thank you for helping me. I’m now taking my child to school. And that’s part of the screaming on the phone example when somebody suddenly has a green card and they have freedom to do whatever they want to do, a stepping stone to get where they need to go.

 Damianne: [30:50] Thank you for sharing that story, that experience of somebody that you worked with. I also read that you recently served on the Mercer Island school district Diversity Advisory Committee. What’s that about? 

Tahmina: [31:04] Oh, thank you for asking. It’s interesting that it’s probably one of my proud non-law involvements. My children go to the schools in this area and I was very honored when I was invited to be part of the superintendents advisory committee. And it was interesting because it was an eye opener that a school, any school not just a school where I live, a school anywhere in the world is a mini example of society where children o f different backgrounds, different languages… 

I lived in Bangladesh, I lived in London and I obviously live here in Seattle, but people, wherever they live, there’s always something that can be a distinguishing factor, whether it’s religion or language or how you look.

 What I learned from this experience is schools are where we need to instill the values we want in our society. And I was very privileged to be part of the diversity advisory committee, which was so thoughtfully created with people from different backgrounds so that the school could meet modern needs.

 I told you I’ve been here for 15 years and the demographic has changed and grown and become more diverse. Systems also need to evolve to meet those needs, but you can’t evolve those structural issues without having the guidance of how to do it. And so I was very, very lucky to have that experience being a part of a school district that is so caring and thoughtfully conscious about making those changes. And it made me realize that that children truly are where we want to instill those values.

 As the pandemic had begun, I started a little mini meditation group. I wanted my children to learn it, but I wanted them to do it with their own friends. And so between March and June, I organized with a friend of mine a daily meditation session for many kids over Zoom, where we brought in meditation teachers from different parts of the world who donated 20 minutes a day for three months. And it’s because I believe if we instill these values in children, our next generation will be able to handle the complexities that we are throwing at them.

Damianne: [33:46] That’s wonderful. I think that is so important because often I see, especially at younger ages, children really do reflect the values of their families, of the communities that they’re growing up in.

What is Tahmina’s purpose [33:59]

Would you say that you are living your purpose?

Tahmina: [34:02] I think I finally am. I think I’m obviously still looking for my purpose, but my purpose for the moment is to use my skills, my knowledge, my background and be in alignment with what I’m supposed to do, which is to use all of these for the betterment of people, and using that knowledge to potentially make changes in immigration law that helps not just people but the country.

You need to make sure there’s a balance. And as I mentioned, there’s an economic benefit to immigration. If I just take America alone as an example, we have about 14 million people out of work who are at the brink of potentially losing their homes if they haven’t lost them already. If you’ve seen news articles, there are so many people in America who are waiting in line for food stamps and food banks. This is a very challenging time in America and immigration is a way to actually create jobs, bring in the people who can start innovative companies and hire people. 

 I think I would love to be able to be part of a global immigration solution. I don’t know what that looks like. That could be part of what my purpose is, but really to have a bigger impact and making sure that when I leave this world, my contributions are felt and remembered and my children carry on.

Tahmina’s Challenge [35:36]

Damianne: [35:36] Do you have a challenge or a request or a call to action for listeners?

Tahmina: [35:43] Yes, I do actually. I want them all to read my book to start with so that they can get inspired. The book is called Legal Heroes in the Trump Era. Be inspired. Expand your impact. Change the world. Read what ordinary people have been doing. And these are mothers, these are lawyers and these are fathers. The parental instinct truly is something that propels you to do more so that your children can have a better world. So read the book and be inspired and then find whatever it is within you that is a skill that you can use to help people. Don’t sit back. This is not a time in history in the world to sit back. Find a way where you can make a contribution to your local community.

It doesn’t have to be something big. Grassroots efforts can make a big impact. So my call to action is find the problems that really bug you and find the skills that you have that you can contribute to fixing it.

 Damianne: [36:53] That’s very important because you know the story about somebody, anybody, and nobody, where we expect somebody else to do something when really each of us can do our part. So thank you for suggesting that. 

What would you say is your super power?

Tahmina: [37:09] That’s a really great question. Nobody’s really asked me that question. My superpower is actually being a mother, I think. Being a mother, and I think most mothers would agree, is that the love within you expands so much that you just never knew that you could love so much. And that love really propels me to make the world better for them, but also love for everyone; it grows. So everything that I do emanates from the love for my children. And so I will actually say being a mother is my super power.

How to support Tahmina’s work [37:49]

Damianne: [37:49] Wonderful. How can people support your work and connect with you?

Tahmina: [37:54] I would love people to support my work. I think the immediate support I need is to make sure the message of the book is out there everywhere, wherever you can share it. They can buy it and read it and share it.

If you feel inspired and you have changed one life, tell me about it. I want to know. And you have probably done a lot already; tell me. These are legal heroes I know, but there are lots of legal heroes that I know of from afar that I couldn’t make time for in the book, but there are lots of different heroes.

Doctors and nurses are heroes at the moment, wherever they are in the the world, endangering their lives to save people in hospital, quarantining themselves from their own children and family. They’re heroes. The firefighters who are fighting the wildfires in Washington state, they are heroes. If you think about the people who go to these hurricane torn places and giving aid. We’re all doing something but more needs to happen because the challenge are growing.

 People can find me on my website, which is but hand in hand with the book, I just started a website called, easy to remember first name, last And they can follow me on Instagram. My Watson immigration law firm has the page on Facebook. I also have Twitter. I don’t write as much on Twitter, but you can definitely contact me on that. 

 I feel like it’s a time in history where if you’re thinking that you need to do something, it’s way past time you’ve done something. So don’t sit around anymore, find it and do it.

Damianne: [39:36] I like the subtitle on your book as well where it says, be inspired, expand your impact, change the world, which is really what this is all about.

Tahmina: [39:46] Thank you.

Audio book recommendations [39:47]

Damianne: [39:47] To finish up, what was a recent book that you read that you would recommend?

Tahmina: [39:52] Oh, my gosh, I love audio books. I absolutely love them. What’s interesting is I only discovered them three years ago. I mean, they have existed of course, you know, for many, many years, but I couldn’t figure out how you’ve switched from a book that you open and you hold to actually reading a Kindle.

And I got used to reading Kindles. Then I was, wow. Kindles are great. eBooks are great because I can have hundreds of books in just the palm of my hand, but then I had children and I started working and I got involved and I don’t have time to read. I lost brain cells I you know, I read one page and then I go back to it five days later, forgetting what I read. 

 I just don’t have time but three or four years ago, I started to commute. I am somebody who hates wasting time. And I kept saying, Ooh, what can I do when I commute? What do people do? Can I draft documents? Can I work when I’m there? And I realized that actually I can listen.

So I was listening to the radio and then I started to listen to podcasts. And I didn’t quite get the podcast thing even though I was doing radio myself. And that’s when I discovered books. And to me initially, it was just while I was driving and then the book was so engaging I thought, Oh, I can clean the dishes while listening too. And then I realized, Oh my gosh, I can fold the laundry while listening to this book.

And I have to say one of my proudest accomplishments is really getting all of my family into audio books. The older one, she’s only allowed to listen to books she’s read but she loves listening to books. And our happy place is being in the kitchen, baking and listening to books.

Recently, my husband started to listen to books and now we can, you know, listen to books together. And in fact, I write a note in memory of Ruth Bader Gainsburg in my book where I describe a story of us listening to her book and an interview with her while we were driving on vacation.

 I love books. It’s interesting. I’ve learned that what you listen to is also about taste, and I’ve gotten into meditation so I listen to a lot of books about meditation but I’ve also listened to a lot of books about self-improvement. One of my recent favorites is something my editor had suggested, the book was called You Are A Badass written by Jen Sincero.

I listen to a lot of immigration stories. There was a recent book that I highly recommend called the almighty. I forget. I’ll have to send book to you. But one of my other favorites was something called The Shock Doctrine written by Naomi Klein. It’s a book that’s actually 10 years old, but as this administration was changing immigration policies and I was looking down the road about what this means, I realized that this administration’s strategy is really to keep all the people on our toes, keep us in fear and keep us in stress so they can make big changes. The Shock Doctrine really described something called disaster capitalism, where often the handful of rich people at the top will look for disasters to capitalize on. That was one of my first books I listened to that just totally captivated me and I’ve not stopped since.

 But I love audio books, highly recommend it, and I’m a big fan of self-improvement. 

 Damianne: [43:30] Wonderful. Thank you so much for making time to chat today. It was fabulous chatting with you.

Tahmina: [43:35] Yeah, thank you so much. I mean, you’ve asked a lot of very profound questions that I don’t often think about; I just do. So thank you for bringing it out of me and thank you for having me on your show. I hope your audience will enjoy the book and perhaps listen to my podcast Tahmina Talks Immigration and if people have questions, I’m always happy to connect. I feel as though I can’t know enough people.

if you expand your thoughts and think about everybody, honestly we all do well. I want people to remember that collective growth is very, very important.


We need to be one in the humanity that we share, because ultimately that’s what needs to be taken care of.

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About the Author
I'm a curious problem solver.

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