Thursday, August 2, 2012

Is Making the Olympics Easier than Getting US Citizenship?

The answer to the above question is clearly no.  However, an interesting story in the National Journal highlights the immigration difficulties that are often faced by foreign-born Olympic athletes representing the United States.
For some, obtaining their citizenship has been one of the most challenging parts of participating in the Olympics. Russian-born Mariya Koroleva qualified for the national synchronized swimming team after she got her U.S. citizenship. She has said that the hardest part of participating in the Olympics was awaiting confirmation of citizenship.
More than 40 of the nearly 600 athletes representing the United States are foreign-born.  These naturalized athletes likely took various paths to obtaining a green card (a precursor to naturalization).  Being Olympic-level athletes, many likely were able to obtain green cards as EB-1 extraordinary abilities athletes.  Others may have taken more conventional routes, such as family-based sponsorship or the diversity lottery.

The article reports that over a dozen naturalized Asian Americans are representing the US in the Games, although that number is probably an underestimate.

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