Inns of Court: Immigration

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immigration_webWhen you think of “edutainment,” you most likely think of some middle school principal trying to “rap” with the kids about texting and Friendster and Snapchat.

Judge Flier (ret.) and his pupilage group (starring Shivani Joshi, Flavio Carvalho, Delia Isvoranu, Marta Vanegas, Denae Budde, Clyde Long, John Hourihan, David Ginn and Robert Buzzard) re-defined “edutainment” with their March 13, 2014, presentation on the American immigration system.

Based loosely on the true story of Marta’s immigration to America from her native Hungary, Judge Flier’s group took the Inns meeting through every immigration option imaginable.

Yes, in a world where one woman wants to emigrate from Hungary, we all learned a lot about America’s complicated, fractured and extremely challenging immigration system. Actors directly addressed the audience, the plot was accentuated with musical numbers, and there was a critical perspective on the injustice of the immigration system.

First, Marta entered folk-dancing to a traditional Hungarian tune. In the initial scene, Marta’s character (she was playing herself) was seeking political asylum. A passerby (Clyde Long) provided her with general information about political asylum, including the grim and sadly arbitrary numbers about approval.

They noted that those represented by attorneys had a 30 percent better chance of success, and then broke out in song to the tune of “In America” from “West Side Story.”

Next, Marta met with Delia Isvoranu, known as Sierra Mist, to apply for political asylum. She described the time she spent in jail in Hungary as a domestic terrorist for merely criticizing the government.

However, since she had no proof of her imprisonment and had waited longer than the deadline for application (one year from arrival in the U.S.), she was not able to secure political asylum. Marta had to return to Hungary.

The next scene related to the Diversity Visa, better known as the Lottery. Under this system, people from countries deemed to have low rates of immigration can potentially immigrate to the U.S. Only people from certain countries are allowed to enter for the drawing and there is an annual maximum of 55,000 of these visas offered.

In this scene, David Ginn, playing Dr. Pepper, conned Marta into giving him money to increase her chances of winning the lottery. Then, he took the money and ran. Luckily, Marta paid using her Hungarian forints, which, as of press time, were 226 for a single U.S. dollar. Sadly, the Diversity Visa lottery is a constant source of fraud for immigrants.

Marta decided to stop listening to passers-by and con men and took matters into her own hands: She then married American citizen and all around heartthrob Corky Cola (Flavio Carvalho).

John Hourihan, playing Mr. Pibbs, was an immigration agent, interviewing Marta to confirm that the marriage was in good faith and not just to obtain the visa. Marta confounded Mr. Pibbs by avoiding all his questions, and he left in a huff.

Then, 23 months later, Corky Cola decided to leave a now-pregnant Marta for Robert Buzzard, playing Monty Dew. Now a “conditional permanent resident,” Marta found herself in a tough situation. Her marriage dissolved before two or more years passed, so her application for unconditional permanent residency was denied. She returned to Hungary again to give birth to her child, Aquafina.

In the next scene, Marta had returned to America, obtaining a job at Gurgle with a H-1B visa, thanks to her advanced engineering skills.

H-1B visas allow for people with advanced science or engineering skills to come to America, if employed here. They can stay here for three to six years and bring in dependants, so Marta brought Aquafina with her.

However, her boss, Mellow Yellow (Shivani Joshi), threatened to fire Marta, report her and Aquafina to the police, and to check for her on E-Verify regularly (all of which could lead to her deportment) if she didn’t work double-triple overtime at Gurgle. This saddened Marta, and then the entire group sang the song “Don’t Cry For Me, Aquafina.”

Retaliating or threatening to retaliate against employees using the immigration authorities, police or unlawfully using E-Verify are all wildly illegal actions.

Judge Flier and the group discussed the various remedies available to a party if they bring such a lawsuit, which can include a 90-day suspension of all business licenses, plus attorney’s fees and costs. Despite that, Marta was again deported because she inadvertently registered to vote when at the DMV. I guess she shouldn’t have listened to Mayor Daley!

Judge Flier’s group discussed two more visa options before wrapping up the show. The first was the genius visa for extraordinary skill.

Unfortunately, the group proved that anybody and everybody is a genius by noting that Piers Morgan and even a Playboy Bunny were somehow granted a genius visa.

They also discussed the immigrant investment visa, which requires at least a $500,000 investment and the creation of at least 10 jobs within the U.S.

The show ended with a heart-warming rendition of “So Long, Farewell” from “The Sound of Music.” That is really the way all Inns of Court presentations should end!

The next Inns of Court meeting will be held on May 8, 2014. If you are interested in applying for RGMAIOC membership, please contact Scott Reep at Scott@Solanolawgroup.com.

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