Target: US Citizenship and Immigration Services
Goal: Refine the US Visa requirements for “Genius Visas,” which are granted to individuals of extraordinary ability.
Former Playboy Bunny Shera Bechard was recently granted what is known as a “genius visa”, allowing her to come to the US for up to three years. Miss Bechard’s accomplishments include being named Miss November 2010 by Playboy Magazine, a role as a deaf Russian mute in the 2009 film “Sweet Karma”, and starting an online photo-sharing craze on Twitter, known as “Frisky Friday.”
“Genius visas”, or the O-1 visa, are commonly reserved for individuals of extraordinary ability, such as young entrepreneurs in the technology field. However, they have seen some popularity in recent years as the visa of choice for entertainers and celebrities, which lends a certain amount of credibility to what “extraordinary ability” means to government officials, and celebrity immigration lawyers are beginning to take advantage of this.
Meanwhile, there are millions of students in the US who had no control over their immigration status, and are eagerly waiting to receive visas so they can continue with their studies, get jobs, or join the military. The government officials, who claim they choose who gets visas on a case-by-case basis, have decided that people like Miss Bechard, who is also a former girlfriend of Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, deserve visas more than teenagers who came to this country when they were too young to consent and now want to devote their careers and studies to the country they have always called home.
By signing the petition below, you are asking the US government to stop pandering to celebrities and the wealthy, and make good on their case-by-case decisions on who gets visas.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services,
Former Playboy Bunny Shera Bechard’s recent receipt of a “genius visa” only highlights the celebrity pandering that happens in politics. People like Miss Bechard, whose accomplishments include starting a scantily-clad photo-sharing craze, continue to receive visas while students who have been in the US for most of their lives and only found out they were illegal aliens when they tried to find work or apply for the military continue to remain in government limbo.
I am asking you to stop catering to celebrities and the wealthy when it comes to granting visas. More money and notoriety doesn’t mean more deserving. Your officials say they consider visa applications on a case-by-case basis—clearly that is not so. Please make good on this, and don’t give visas to celebrities who can afford better immigration lawyers.
[Your Name Here]