The INS position has been inconsistent, from my brief brushes with it -- it changes by administration, but not always in predictable ways
(I think it's often at the whim, too, of the person who gets to stamp the paperwork.) I know one dancer who took six years to get his resident alien papers, others that got them in three months. There was a famous dance case about 15 years ago with Kenneth Greve, then a teenager, in whom everyone in the dance world was interested in -- including the directors of both ABT and NYCB. He had letters from at least a dozen people explaining in great detail how unusual he was -- six foot three and coordinated, training from birth, heir to a great tradition, etc etc etc -- and he was denied a work visa. (This was in the media at the time.
) Yet there were others from overseas with more modest paper qualifications than he who got visas that summer.
The situation is different now, though, with the Homeland Security department, and I'm cynical enough to believe that The Holy Monks of Tibet won't get in (because Tibet is a hotspot) while the Schlankshlekers of Siburnia (where Schlankshleker is the Siburnian word for "manic killer terrorists armed to the teeth) will
Ah for the good old days. I once had to review "The Palestinian Liberation Army Children's Choir" where all the male "children" had beards and during the traditional folk dance company's wedding, the bridegroom was killed on his way to the ceremony and the bride ripped off her dress to strip down to her combat clothes, complete with boots, the best man gave her his AK-47, and she ran off to avenge the death, while the audience leapt to its feet as one, crying "Kill, kill, Israelis."
It was at the Kennedy Center and the day was Yom Kippur.
(for this thread, obviously, politics has to be discussed. My prohibition against politics is for gratuitous comments thrown into pacific discussions, or slogans in signature lines, that would divert debate from the serene, intellectual conclave we have tried to construct here to discuss higher topics, like who's the best Kitri, or what we think of the Balanchine Celebration