The story of Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP—Peekskill’s newest law firm—begins prior to the outbreak of World War II, when a teenaged boy named Arthur Pollack returned to the United States after having spent his childhood in Germany.
“My father was born in America but grew up in Germany and before the war, some of our relatives in Yonkers were able to take them in,” said his son, Conrad, the managing partner and head of the firm’s immigration department. “When he got here he spoke no English but ended up learning it and serving in the war as a sergeant—he was a paratrooper. Because of his proclivity for language, he later served as a translator at the Nuremburg trials.”
One of the reasons you become an immigration lawyer is to help people and we handle every type of immigration case out there.
“It was a natural fit because yes, my father was a lawyer, but he was also a linguist, a really smart guy,” said Conrad, who took over the business in 1985, just one year after finishing law school. “In 1965 there was a big change in the law that really opened up the western hemisphere to come to the United States more freely. So, you had a big influx of many groups—Haitians speaking French, Ecuadorians and Dominicans speaking Spanish, Brazilians speaking Portuguese—and because my father could speak all of these languages it was just a natural fit and here we are today.”
Today, Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco—headquartered in lower Manhattan—is a full service shop recognized as one of the top firms for immigration law in the country and, as of May 1, they will have a second location at 906 South Street in Peekskill.
“I am getting the impression that Peekskill is overall a pro-immigration community and we will do whatever we can to become a part of that community,” he said. “Peekskill seems to be the perfect spot for us. As an example, we had a seminar the other night and many of the people that came were already clients or former clients of ours. One woman came up to me afterwards and said I used to translate for a client of yours after I got my green card years ago, so we are a known commodity especially among the Ecuadorian community.”
With immigration being the family business, Conrad stresses that his role, as he sees it, is to help people realize the American Dream.
“We are not in this just for the money,” he said. “One of the reasons you become an immigration lawyer is to help people and we handle every type of immigration case out there. If somebody gets picked up and is in immigration detention and their sister calls and asks us for help—depending on the circumstances, we will go down there, represent them in court, try to get them out, post bond, help them get a green card or legalize them. If there isn’t a way to legalize them then we will try to at least get them out of jail as quickly as possible so they can voluntarily leave the country.”
Area residents are more than welcome to stop by the offices for a consultation to answer any questions and concerns they may have, from seeking assistance in obtaining a green card, becoming legalized, bringing a loved one into the country, applying for a seasonal work visa or work permit, or to simply get clarification on the role ICE is playing in the current political environment.
“Right now, the hot topic is about ICE coming into local communities and rounding people up, whether they are criminal aliens or just here illegally,” he said. “It may not be as commonplace or sensationalized as it is made out to be in the media, but it is happening.”
The goal, he said, is to help people.
“We get to know our clients because we care about them and we do pro bono work when we can. As I said, my dad started this, I picked it up and I see my son picking up where I leave off.”
Having offices in Peekskill will provide clients convenient access to PPID’s services.
Though new to town, Conrad sees a lot of things to like in Peekskill.
“I’ve spoken with the Chamber of Commerce and met the area’s school superintendent and from what I can tell, the Peekskill community has a good understanding and appreciation of the benefits the area’s recent immigrants have brought,” he explained. “We have a large client base, mostly Ecuadorian, in Ossining and Peekskill and they’ve been trekking down to the offices in Manhattan, so Peekskill made sense. Just the other day, me and one of my assistants were driving around Peekskill and we ate at one of the restaurants and we loved it. She lives in Brooklyn now but said Peekskill seems like a great place to be and I think what we see happening in Peekskill right now is what has always happened and that is immigrant communities coming in and improving and reinvigorating an area.”
It is safe to say that Conrad has a passion for what he does, and once he opens up on South Street, he will bring that passion and work ethic to the people of northern Westchester.
“Immigration is in my blood. It has been in my family and it will probably continue,” he said. “My son will probably end up going into the business after I’m done. I strongly believe the United States is a nation of immigrants and we have always been welcoming to immigrants and that is part of, if not the sole reason, for our country’s greatness. Immigration has been, is and will continue to be a very positive thing for the United States and in my small way I feel I can contribute to that.”
Offering services in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Korean, Chinese and Serbo-Croatian, Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco focuses in the following areas of immigration law:
- Family-Based Immigrant Visas
- Employment-Based Immigrant Visas
- Nonimmigrant Visas
- PERM-Labor Certifications
- Deferred Action
- U & T Visas / VAWA Applications
For more information, visit ppid.com or call 914-328-2400.
POLLACK, POLLACK, ISAAC & DECICCO, LLP
906 South Street
Peekskill, New York 10566
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