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Attorney Sarah E. Blackwell

Phone (414) 964-1900                                   E-mail


As an immigrant myself, I know what it is like to go through immigration processes.

I first came to the U.S. from England as a young child.  A U.S. company recruited my father, offering him better economic and career opportunities than he would have had in England.  We emigrated by boat, arriving in New York on September 11, 1968. As a child, I was not involved in organizing to emigrate, but I do understand what it is to be an immigrant and the challenges that face any immigrant.

As a young adult, I went through various Canadian immigration processes.  From age 16 to 18, I attended an international boarding school called Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific on Vancouver Island.  I also attended Canadian universities although my degree was eventually from University of Wisconsin-Madison.  In 1983, I permanently emigrated to Canada, a decision that led to the termination of my green card.

In 1985, I did reverse immigration and returned to England where I lived until early 1999.  In 1996, I decided to emigrate for a second time to the U.S. My reasons for emigrating are familiar to anyone who has made a decision to emigrate: I wanted to be closer to my family and to provide a better quality of life for myself and my daughter.

My second move to the U.S. took much longer than the first time and illustrated some of the complexities of immigration law.  When I decided to emigrate, both my parents were here in the U.S. but they were not U.S. citizens.  Immigration law has different waiting lists for green cards that depend on the citizenship status of the petitioner and the relationship between the petitioner and the beneficiary.  My parents could sponsor me but because they were not U.S. citizens, I would go onto the waiting list for the unmarried adult daughter of a legal permanent resident and potentially faced a 5 to 7 year wait for a visa.  This was not a happy situation and for a while, I regretted my earlier decision to abandon my previous green card.

Fortunately, a quirk in immigration laws allowed my U.S. citizen stepmother to sponsor me as if she were my biological parent because she married my father before my 18th birthday.  She filed an I-130 petition for me in February 1997.  I arrived in the U.S. just 2 years later because I was on a faster waiting list: the unmarried adult daughter of a U.S. citizen. 

In January 2006, I embarked on my last personal interaction with U.S. immigration services: I applied for U.S. citizenship. Ironically, I had my citizenship interview on September 11, 2006, the 38th anniversary of my first arrival in the U.S.  I was sworn-in as a citizen on October 19, 2006.  My 17-year old daughter automatically became a U.S. citizen on the same day as she was under age 18 when I became a citizen.

I have been practicing immigration law for seven years.  I derive immense satisfaction from practicing immigration law. I enjoy the intellectual challenge of immigration law, but more importantly, I enjoy helping families be together.  Immigration law can be harsh and draconian, forcing families to separate and keeping families apart.  When I succeed for clients, I know I have made a difference in their lives and helped them be with their families.  The smiles on the faces of clients when I have been successful for them is truly priceless.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, I worked in healthcare management.  My previous experience in healthcare management drives an interest in healthcare-related employment immigration.

My healthcare management background also gives me a special interest in working with people living with HIV or victims of domestic violence.  In my previous career, I worked as a manager for a program that provided medical and social support services to people living with HIV. 


  • Marquette University Law School (J.D.)

  • University of Wisconsin-Madison (B.A. Social Work)

  • Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific (International Baccalaureate)

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin


Blackwell Law Group, S.C. ●  700 W. Virginia St., Suite 307 ● Milwaukee, WI 53204 ● (414) 964-1900


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