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U.S. Skating Champ Denied Entry by Nonsensical Visa Policy
Christina Carriera is a citizen and national of Canada currently lawfully present in the United States as an athlete performing at an internationally recognized level of performance. She is half of the two member team of Carriera/Pomomarenko, the highest ranked competitive junior ice dance team in the world as ranked by the governing body of the sport, the International Skating Union (ISU). In May she applied to USCIS to be classified as an alien of extraordinary ability so as to be able to compete for the United States at all international events, including, hopefully, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denial of this petition was arbitrary and capricious in the extreme in that the USCIS’s weird conclusion that “silver and gold awards at national and international .. ice skating competitions,” are not “nationally or internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence in the field of endeavor, because it is limited to members of that association and participants of those competitions” is entirely irrational, in that such limitations on the winners of such awards is completely unrelated to the ultimate issue of whether they are nationally or internationally recognized. In fact, World Junior Championship awards are the highest the world of junior ice dance skating has to offer. Furthermore, consistent application of the USCIS’s reasoning would also make the Heisman Trophy or the National Football League’s Most Valuable Player Award not a recognized prize or award for excellence in the field of endeavor, because the Heisman Trophy is limited to students at accredited universities and the MVP award to members of National Football League teams and, of course, to win either award one must necessarily have participated in college or NFL football games, respectively. 4. Indeed, the application of this reasoning would even make an Olympic Gold Medal not a nationally or internationally recognized award, since it too is awarded only to members of the various competing states’ Olympic teams who actually participate in the Olympic Games. its nonsensical refusal to recognize her awards in the field of junior ice dancing (such as, to cite but one prominent example, the Gold Medal in the 2018 United States National Junior Championships) solely “because it is limited to members of that association and participants of those competitions” renders the decision denying this petition arbitrary, capricious, and in fact, absurd.
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