Manrique Law is based in New York and has strong connections with the Irish community.

IrishCentral chats to lawyer Samuel Manrique about his journey to working with the Irish community in Pearl River and Woodlawn, his passion for helping immigrants, and explains what different visa options are available. 

Manrique Law represents individuals nationwide in all levels of Family Law, Immigration, Criminal Charges, and Estate Planning. Book your FREE consultation and learn more here.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you down the route of law?

I was born in New York City. My dad was an immigrant from Cuba and my mom isn’t technically an immigrant, but she is from Puerto Rico. In many ways she had the immigrant experience as well, since the cultures are so different between there and the mainland US. 

My mom and dad ran an insurance business in East Harlem. My parents embraced the hustle, they did it all, eventually getting in the real estate game. I went to college and earned a degree in history. During and after college, I ran the family real estate business, with hopes of going to law school.  Eventually I got married, had a family and thought the dream would never happen. I ventured into several businesses. I ran a hotel in NYC, opened a Brazilian jiu jitsu school and training business.

One day, after a personal setback, I sat in my home office and saw an old Law School Admission Test book under an old record player. I believe it was the Holy Spirit guiding me that day. I just got up and started. I got all my papers ready and submitted my applications. I was accepted and within a few months I went from seeing an old LSAT book to full blown law student at Pace Law in White Plains NY. I took to law school, acing exams and eventually finishing 4th in my first year section. I was invited to join the law review but declined as my focus was opening my own firm as soon as I graduated. Just like my parents, I enjoy the hustle. 

As soon as I passed the bar, I went after it. Immigration had a special place in my heart. Not just because of my mom and dad but because we often helped immigrants at the office. We helped translate documents, and read forms for people all the time. The tenants at the property we owned were all immigrants and many of them came to me with their issues even then. 

I teamed up with another recent law school grad who was originally from Woodlawn. She worked at an immigration firm 10 years prior to law school and knew her stuff. Her husband was from Ireland and she also helped him enter the country. 

Your office is in Pearl River, a well known Irish hub, and as you say you also work with the Irish community in Woodlawn. What type of cases would you see come through the doors of your office?

In addition to immigration, my office also does a lot of family law and criminal work. Many of our clients came to us because they were having serious problems. Many had gotten married to an American citizen and were having marital issues. Verbal abuse, financial abuse, domestic violence. 

Oftentimes they suffered from a spouse who threatened to not go through with their immigration process. For many of these individuals, we would help them get what’s called a VAWA, this stands for the Violence Against Women’s act. It’s a law that was signed in 1994 to protect women but today I get just as many male clients who qualify for it. Oftentimes immigrants feel trapped in their marriages. They feel like they don’t have control in an abusive relationship and the reality is, they have some amazing options. 

Other visas we see a lot are T visas. These are trafficking visas. When we think of human trafficking we think sex trafficking and sweatshops but it doesn’t have to be an extreme to qualify for a T. Many times people working construction or in restaurants are victims of trafficking. I’ve seen nannies and other domestic workers be victims of trafficking as well. 

U visas are another big part of what we do. These visas are for people who have been the victim of a crime in the US. Unfortunately, like any big city, New York City does have crime, the silver lining for immigrant victims of crimes though, is that it could be a fast track to a green card if they aren’t afraid to report. 

For someone living in Ireland and dreaming of moving over to the US or an employer wanting to recruit talented workers, how can Manrique Law help them?

We can help people from Ireland in a number of ways. If they plan to marry a US citizen we can help them with a K1 fiancé visa or green card process after they’re married. We can help people seeking to start a business in the US if they meet certain qualifications. 

For those who possess special talent and skill in the arts or sciences, there’s always the O visa. We’ve had people in our office from painters and other artists and even had a well known Irish dancer approach us when he was looking to move to New York! 

What has been the highlight of your career or your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest accomplishment in the immigration world has to be when we helped an Afghan refugee enter the US. This was a pro bono case too for obvious reasons. We became a part of history that day. I remember being on the phone getting minute-by-minute reports as Kabul fell. Zak was 7 miles from the airport traveling with his family. The relief we felt when he got to the airport was unreal. 

You can find out more about Manrique Law by checking out their website or calling them on (929) 223-4204 today for a FREE consultation.