March 22, 2016
By Dan Beckley
The Dark Knight and Man of Steel battle royale will soon be seen by millions of moviegoers in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25, and Batman has good reason to hold a grudge against Big Blue.
Not only did Superman destroy most of Metropolis and kill thousands of people in his battle with Zod two years ago, but he is also blatantly violating federal law.
That's right, Superman is ignoring his legal responsibility to apply for a green card. If being a native of the alien world Krypton doesn't classify you as an immigrant, I don't know what does. And if he wants to continue working at The Daily Planet as a reporter, he better listen up with his, uh, super hearing.
Here are six things Superman needs to know:
1. What is a green card?
Don't worry, Superman, green cards aren't actually green. I know that color makes you nervous. The identity cards known as "green cards" are issued to foreign nationals who are lawful permanent U.S. residents (LPRs) and are permitted to live and work in the United States permanently. The green card is issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and serves as evidence of lawful immigration status, identity and employment authorization.
2. What are the responsibilities of a green card holder?
Green card holders must abide by U.S. law, and may have their permanent resident status revoked if they fail to do so. Is destroying half of a major city and taking the law into your own hands breaking the law? Depends on who you ask. (Don't ask Batman.)
Also, LPRs risk losing their status if they fail to file tax returns as U.S. residents, reside in another country, or are absent from the U.S. for more than one year without first obtaining a reentry permit.
Superman would have almost all the same benefits as a U.S. citizen, except he can't vote in any election. Remember this when Lex Luthor runs for U.S. president.
3. How does someone apply for a green card?
Permanent residency is most commonly obtained through employment or family. This means he'd either have to bother his grumpy boss Perry White or marry his longtime soul mate, Lois Lane.
Word of advice, Clark. Don't let Lois know you're marrying her just for her lawful immigration status. She's got enough on her plate with knowing you're a deeply conflicted alien and all.
4. How does the U.S. limit the number of immigrant visas issued each year?
Nationals from countries with high demand for immigrant visas, such as China, India, Mexico and the Philippines, face a longer wait than those from all other countries. Guessing lone survivors of Krypton aren't high on the list either.
5. How does an employer sponsor a foreign national for permanent residency?
For petitions that require an employer sponsor, the typical route to permanent residence begins with labor certification. The labor certification process ensures that there are no qualified, able and willing U.S. workers available for the position.
Seeing as how Clark is the only reporter to always "coincidentally" be in the same place as Superman "seemingly" all the time, I think he should qualify.
6. Who else is eligible for a green card?
Those seeking asylum and refugees may be eligible for permanent residency. Asylum is granted to individuals present in the U.S. who have been persecuted in their home country, or fear they will be persecuted, on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.
If only Superman knew this two years ago, when Zod was stalking him throughout the galaxy, this problem could have been solved a long time ago.
For more info about green cards, check out the OSBA's Law You Can Use column "Green cards allow foreign nationals to live and work in U.S."
Dan Beckley is website and digital content strategist for the Ohio State Bar Association. He has waited anxiously and plotted for years to use the photo to the left as his profile picture.
What happens when an immigrant faces a criminal or divorce charge? Watch the OSBA CLE OnDemand seminar When Immigration Law Intersects with Criminal and Family Law to find out.