[Recently by Rob Sanchez: Reflections On the Minuteman Project]
"O" visas are one of the few guest worker programs that have evaded public debate. Traditionally they have been used for a small number of aliens of "exceptional foreign talent".
Typically these visas are granted to aliens who have received internationally recognized awards, such as the Nobel Prize.
Unlike the H-1B visa, which employers use to import cheap labor for white-collar jobs, "O" visa recipients must truly be exceptional.
But, in an amazing development, an Argentine pin-up girl for Playboy Magazine, Dorismar (aka Dora Noemi Kerchen), has been approved for an "O" visa on the argument that her good looks qualify her. (Research the question on her official website.)
This means the "O" visa is on the verge of becoming another guest worker visa program.
The Dorismar controversy began when she was arrested at her Florida home on Jan. 5, 2006 for violating U.S. immigration laws.
Dorismar was getting ready to sign a contract to be a calendar-girl for a trucking company when she heard pounding at her front door. She found Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers handcuffing her husband.
Dorismar, who was also arrested, was deported along with her husband to Buenos Aires within 8 hours.
The arrests were made because both Dorismar and her husband were illegal aliens. Dorismar came to the U.S. on a visitor visa, but once here decided to overstay her visa.
Before her arrest, Dorismar's illegal alien status had not stopped her from buying a house in Doral Florida, or from getting lucrative jobs in modeling, pornography, singing, and acting.
Dorismar was just another one of the millions of illegal aliens who live and work in the U.S.
Rumors in the Hispanic community had it that, in a classic war of the divas, a rival Latina model betrayed her. Supposedly, a sexpot from Cuba named Sissi (aka Isabel Fleitas) finked on Dorismar in order to get the contract for the trucker's calendar.
Sissi, who also admits to entering the US as an illegal alien, categorically denies that she reported Dorismar. But that hasn't ended the rampant gossip on Hispanic websites and blogs.
Dorismar wasn't happy about being deported although she admitted entering the U.S. and overstaying her visa. In an attempt to re-enter the U.S. she hired an immigration attorney named Michael Feldenkrais (e-mail him).
People who have followed the story assumed that Dorismar was trying to get an H-1B visa. This would be a logical choice since there is a provision in H-1B for fashion models.
But Feldenkrais explained his strategy in a letter to the Immigration Lawyer's Website. He revealed he was seeking an "O" visa for Dorismar.
Feldenkrais also appeared in a remarkable interview on MSNBC's Tucker Carlson Show. He argued that his client possessed extraordinary abilities to "show what men like to see in magazines like Playboy", citing her curvaceous posterior. (Hey, I'm not kidding, he really said that!)
The major requirements for the "O" visa are defined by USCIS regulation Title 8 CFR 214.2(o).
It is true that one requirement is "an alien who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in motion picture and/or television productions."
But let's have a reality check here. Dorismar starred in Latinas Gone Crazy, which is about a bunch of drunken college girls.
Maybe Feldenkrais used the provision that requires "evidence that the alien has a record of major commercial or critically acclaimed successes as evidenced by such indicators as title, rating, standing in the field, [and] box office receipts."
Dorismar's music recordings are very hot sellers in Hispanic communities as well as throughout Mexico and South America, and she sells a lot of tickets for her concerts.
Despite Dorismar's popularity as a Latina diva, claiming that she has been recognized with distinction is a stretch. Great opera singers like Pavarotti would probably qualify for an "O" visa. But Dorismar is not Pavarotti.
Perhaps the best provision for Dorismar was the one that asks for "evidence that the alien has received significant recognition for achievements from organizations, critics, government agencies, or other recognized experts in the field in which the alien is engaged."
Dorismar may have qualified for this one because, as Feldenkrais confirmed in an email to me, she opened for another Latina singer named Paulina Rubio during John Kerry's 2004 Democratic National Convention.
On first impression it would seem that Dorismar made a poor decision to hire Feldenkrais. Her case for an "O" visa is very weak…isn't it?
Apparently not. Feldenkrais has confirmed to me via email that he has recently won approval for his petition for Dorismar's contention that she is an "alien of extraordinary ability".
Dorismar still faces other legal hurdles. She is an illegal alien who got caught and deported. There is a 10-year bar to admissibility following such deportations.
According to Feldenkrais he is in the process of appealing the 10-year rule for Dorismar. Feldenkrais may have a tough time getting a waiver. But based on his accomplishments so far, it wouldn't be prudent to underestimate him.
Dorismar's "O" visa is an insult to the great scientists, businessmen, and artists from around the world that qualify for an "O" visa.
It sets a very bad precedent that can only make our immigration system an even bigger farce than it already is—and turn the "O" visa will into a cheap labor program like H-1B.
Rob Sanchez (email him) is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization and author of the "Job Destruction Newsletter" (sign up for it here) at www.JobDestruction.com. To make a tax-deductible donation to Rob Sanchez, click here.