The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

The border-jumping professor

Ok, so imagine this: You're a professor in the United States on an O-1 visa. A visa which is about to expire.

With these facts in mind, what would your logical choice of actions be?

(a), File paperwork with USCIS to have your visa extended?

Or (b), cross the border into Canada, a sovereign and separate nation from the United States, and try to sneak through the system and get your visa renewed through the back door?

Let's say, for the moment, that you chose (b). If the United States were, for some reason, to deny your renewal, and you were to suddenly find yourself stranded in a foreign nation, what do you do then?

(1), Whine to the press about "discrimination" and "profiling?"

Or (2), Suck it up, move your family to Canada, and make a new life for yourself? (Heck, you could even elect to return to your home country, from which you came over on a TEMPORARY visa, if you so chose.)

My sympathy for assistant professor Mohammad Ramadan Hassan Salama, who chose the worst of all of the options, is running quite low.

For such a self-proclaimed "smart guy," he really seems to be quite a bonehead.



#1 Sean 12-Sep-2006
Wow, could you be more wrong? I think your post get's nearly every aspect of this issue factually wrong.

First, Professor Salama was applying for, but did not yet have, O-1 visa status. He was in the States on a scholar visa but because of his employment with San Francisco State University he was qualified to apply for O-1 status.

Here's the important part that you brutalize him for but which you apparently didn't bother to educate yourself on: In order to obtain O-1 status, the applicant must leave the country and apply for the status change with a US consulate elsewhere - hence the trip to Toronto. Only once that has been finally approved may the applicant return and begin work for the employer specified in the new O-1. Emory University has a wonderful tutorial on this that you might want to check out:
Of course, the same info is presented in the Chronicle article you cited, I guess you must have "missed" it.

If you are going to rip somebody, please do your homework first. Maybe a little fact checking might have prevent your error...
#2 Brian 12-Sep-2006

My original remarks still stand. He was in the United States on a *temporary* visa, and elected to take his chances crossing the border to adjust to a permanent one on the sly. As a general rule, do you think it's wiser to return to your country of origin to apply for this kind of visa (to a place where, presumably by the nature of your *temporary* visa, you *still have residence*), or is it wiser to go to a THIRD country, and try to apply for the visa there?

I appreciate your comments, and have in no way attempted to "brutalize" the good professor. He knew the risks of what he was doing, and elected to ignore them. Rather than complaining to the press, it seems it would be better for him to make other arrangements.

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