The Washington Post: "Debating the residency status of Ariel from 'The Little Mermaid'"

by Joseph McKeown

The current topic of conversation in the immigration world is not about the upcoming H-1B cap filing date of April 1 (okay, that's important too—get ready, everyone!) but rather the incredibly important question about the residency status of Ariel from The Little Mermaid, the classic animated film beloved by pretty much everyone including most of the people in our office. The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee started this debate by using Ariel in an official press release consisting of GIFs about a Republican bill to allow state and local governments to enforce federal immigration law. Yes, that's an actual press release. (House Speaker John Boehner would certainly approve). In response to the committee's release, several people questioned whether Ariel would be considered an "illegal alien" due to her residency in the MerKingdom under the sea.

The National Council of La Raza called the release a "case study in how to ignore facts and turn a heartbreaking situation for millions of American families into a juvenile BuzzFeed rip-off" and ZDNet blogger David Gewirtz noted that the press release used images from popular films and television that could be interpreted as copyright violations, which is interesting given that this is from "the committee that oversees copyright law."

More helpfully, The Washington Post's The Fix outlined Ariel's immigration possibilities to Denmark (where Hans Christian Andersen, the author of the much darker original Little Mermaid tale, originated) and also to the US, though immigrating here "would be difficult for Ariel." In an informal strategy session around the water cooler, our office suggested that an O-1 for an individual of  “extraordinary ability" might be appropriate. What's Ariel's talent? Swimming, possibly, but more likely singing or modeling (she did make Prince Eric fall in love with her without saying a word, as Michal, one of our paralegals, noted). Several paralegals volunteered to work on the case. Citing attorney-client confidentiality, Protima would not confirm if Ariel would be our first Merpeople client.

At any rate, maybe it really is better for Ariel to stay under the sea.