Small Business Spotlight
For this month’s Small Business Spotlight, we catch up with Michelle S. Canero with Canero Immigration Law Firm.
1. Tell us about your business; and what is your business philosophy?
We are a women-owned boutique immigration law practice here in Miami, that was founded by my mother 20 years ago. We focus on business and investment immigration, but also handle family immigration and litigation matters. We work with companies from all over the country who seek to hire and maintain foreign employees, international artists and accomplished foreign professionals, foreign investors and foreign businesses establishing US operations, as well as families from all over the world seeking to immigrate to the United States. The most rewarding part of our practice is working with international students and DACA recipients, helping them find ways to legally live and work in our country. Their dedication and appreciation for the opportunity to be here is inspiring.
2. Why are you passionate about your commitment to United Way?
I have always believed in community outreach, especially in helping children and young parent’s. As an individual I found it difficult to figure out where to invest my time and resources for maximum impact. The breadth and success of United Way’s community activism, support for varied organizations and comprehensive involvement inspires me to do more and has given me a vehicle through which I feel my efforts can make a real difference. The organization has provided me with so many opportunities to get involved and to learn about issues facing our community. It has introduced me to so many wonderful and knowledgeable individuals that share my desire to give back and be involved. In addition to my personal commitment to the United Way, my employees have also enjoyed participating in the United Way of Miami’s programming and events, hoping to improve our community through meeting new people and being a part of this organization. We do what we can with the pro-bono work in our firm, and I believe that our involvement with the United Way of Miami, we will be able to help even more people in our community and beyond who may need it.
3. How did your business get started?
My mother, on her 40th birthday, decided to go out on her own and start her own immigration practice. As an American with multiple ties to immigrants and immigrant needs, she put her energy where she felt she could be most influential and beneficial to our community. She convinced me to leave my career at an insurance defense and litigation law firm and join her in 2009. Together we have grown this firm into the boutique business immigration law firm that it is today. It has been a rewarding career helping others who like myself immigrated to this country. I really enjoy what I do and look forward to each day of work.
4. What is a lesson learned?
It has been a tumultuous few years for my chosen profession, and while initially I struggled with the challenges presented by changing policy and increasingly limited relief available to my clients, I have come to appreciate these experiences and now view them as an opportunity to learn and grow. The legal challenges have also helped me to think outside the box and dig deeper in my legal reasoning to identify novel and creative arguments to overcome potential negative decisions in my cases. It has also inspired me to become a greater advocate for my clients and their issues beyond my practice. I am now much more involved in my professional associations and independently working to advance informed pro-immigration legislation and policy on a national level. As a result of the challenges in this period, I have become more resilient, informed about the issues and their impact on all sides, and learned to see things from a new perspective which ultimately has made me a better advocate for my clients.
5. What’s your favorite quote?
“Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.” Mahatma Gandhi