WDEF reporter James Mahon had been working at the Chattanooga, TN, CBS affiliate on a 12-month work visa. But after that expired he’s now stuck in a no-man’s land, waiting to hear if he can stay or if he has to go back to his native Ireland.
Mahon’s plight is getting a lot of press coverage in Chattanooga. He told the local ABC affiliate WTVC, “I’m in a situation where I can’t work. I can’t drive. I can’t pay taxes. I can just sit and wait. That’s what I’m here doing, sitting and waiting till someone somewhere reads my paperwork and tells me yes or no.”
And he isn’t sitting quietly while he waits, either. Mahon also wrote an op-ed piece on Nooga.com about his experience with the US immigration process, “I have noticed that over the past 15 years more and more measures have been brought in to protect against threats from outside and inside this country, which is understandable,” wrote Mahon. “It’s also my observation that it is becoming harder and harder to come to America to work and contribute to society.”
Mahon said he applied for an O-1 Visa in August, but to get one he has to prove he is extraordinary at something.
“It’s close to impossible to try and do the right thing,” he told WDEF. “It’s becoming more and more of a challenge to stay here legally, and work here legally and continue paying taxes than I would have ever imagined.”
Here’s the report from WDEF: