Monday, July 24, 2017

Russian artist fighting to make America her home

Yulia Kuznetsova
    Fiona McEntee is an immigration attorney. Born in Dublin, she has practiced law in Chicago for the past 10 years. Hundreds of would-be clients have found their way to her office, seeking her help in maintaining their tenuous finger hold on the American Dream.
    Only one, Yulia Kuznetsova, made her weep.
    "I actually cried, and I never cried in a consultation before in my life," said McEntee. "This is a really emotional situation. I felt the weight she has on her shoulders. She is just so talented."
     Kuznetsova is an artist, a painter from Russia. Twenty-four years old, she was 19 when she was accepted to the School of the Art Institute. Her parents sold their apartment in Moscow to pay her tuition.
    There's a lot of that going around. Some 900,000 foreign students come to this country, where American colleges accept them—and their rupees, pounds, euros and rubles—with open arms. Then the students graduate, and the United States tries to boot them out, just when they're ready to be productive. A cruel trick, really.
   As I dug into Kuznetsova's life, now-you-cry part eluded me. There seemed to be a dark buried something that I couldn't put my finger on.
     I spoke with one of her teachers at the School of the Art Institute.
    "She's very agile with paint," said MaryLou Zelazny, a professor of painting and drawing. "She's masterful, and has got a tremendous facility. She comes up with images that are very heartfelt and personal."
    Can't a person paint in Russia?
    "No," replied Zelazny. "Not with the censorship they have now."

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19 comments:

  1. As my kids would say IDGI. There are children brought to the US with no choice in the matter who wish to stay in the only country they have ever known, and those attempting to bring over relatives who face imminent death or torture and THIS is the case that makes an immigration an attorney cry? I don't get it!

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  2. a student visa is just that. its a closed ended time period you can stay . then you apply for the opportunity to come back and stay permanently. this system allows for and encourages people to get an education in the states, which they usually pay full tuition for and take that education home with them to improve their country of origin with the knowledge and skills they've attained here. this improves our country and theirs. theoretically. should every student that comes here get to stay? should people who can afford an american university education be prioritized over others of lesser means? what about the brain drain that would cause in other countries. should everyone who comes here to visit for whatever reason be allowed to stay? just because they like it here better than where they came from? gee i don't know. why did you write this piece? and the accompanying photos ?? whats the angle here Neil? it alludes me. cause Tonys likes her? so what?

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  3. You're raising a stray man -- "Theoretically every student that comes here get to stay" -- then kicking it down. Why do you jump to "everybody"? Most want to go home and do go home. But those who want to stay have trouble doing so because the system is so screwed up. It takes years to process. I wrote the piece because it was an important issue involving real people. It was worth doing, obviously, because it alerted people like yourself to a problem the obviously aren't aware of.

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    1. "Straw man," though I like the "stray man" argument. What would that be?

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    2. A stray man is off course. Like a republican who supports Trump.

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    3. FME pretty much has the right of it, these rules have been in place for decades. They were negotiated with foreign governments by the State Department to embrace a philosophy of training students to be doctors, civil engineers, biologists specializing in agriculture, etc. Then returning to their country to apply and share their skills. All to often students were reluctant to return to a third world country, hence the rules. And now Yulia is in a bind, no one in the Trump Administration can intervene for her, the crime de jour is meeting with a Russian. But if Yulia is willing to compromise her artistic integrity, she can return to Russia. Just specialize in those sterile forms and long lines, so loved by fascist dictators because they illustrate the power of government to crush people. If she hones her skills well, in time she can return in triumph to America and be the Artist Laureate of the Cruz regime.

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    4. Neil, what i said was : this improves our country and theirs. theoretically . what i asked was: should every student who comes here get to stay? its a question. I'm not arguing against your point. want to know what it is. i have very close friends who would like to attain legal status here. they are skilled some are gifted, they work hard, pay taxes, some come from countries much harsher than russia, i understand this issue very well. people with special skills can apply for an eb-3 visa. extraordinary people in the arts can apply for o-1 visas . both are temporary and difficult to get and limited in number available . the system sucks and is suckier under this administration . though people are happy to go back after their finished with school , many many people want to stay. its hard and not everybody that wants to can. don't blame me i didn't write the laws , i just know what they are

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    5. FME, not sure how requiring a talented university graduate to leave improves our country, other than enriching some university by paying full tuition. IMHO anyone who wants to stay here after graduation should be allowed to.

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    6. we export out values and culture around the world with this system . its skewed toward the wealthy and yes universities benefit by the income . their increased endowments make it possible for native born students to received tuition reduction and tuition assistance making school somewhat more affordable as well as making the student body more diverse. then we skim the creme off the top by retaining the very best and brightest folks by offering them these other types of visas which can enable some of them to qualify for green cards.sadly this young lady is not judged as worthy. but why ask me i don't really no much about this issue. over here in my little bubble

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  4. It's no wonder that Trump likes Putin. Both think of women as 2nd class citizens.

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  5. I can understand why this young woman wants to stay here, but I don't think it's heartbreaking just because she has artistic talent. Would she be less qualified for permanent status if she didn't?

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    1. As a matter of fact, yes. From a legal point of view, the law is such that it makes exception, basically, for really talented people. Don't look at me; I didn't write it.

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  6. The heartbreak part, I'm guessing, is the fact that all the time, effort, and money(parents sold the flat), is worthless once she has to go back to Russia. Her talent will meaningless over there, or a way to get thrown in jail. She wants to join a pretty big group of Russian artists and musicians who have fled that country in the past and I say let her.

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    1. Thank you Nikki. That is it, in a nutshell.

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  7. I know it's not the same, but my grandmother left farm life in Iowa to study at The Art Institute. She spent the rest of her life in Chicago. I can't imagine why Yulia shouldn't have the same opportunity. She's apparently talented, she's working, paying taxes, she's contributing to American society. No problem, right?

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  8. A lovely woman with exceptional talent. Does that count for more than others....perhaps. Without knowing the family and their understanding of the laws, it sounds like they were counting on her talent usurping the usual custom of sending students back to their home country. It's a shame she couldn't put her talent to full use in Russia, but it shouldn't be such a shock if she's not allowed to stay. The crying and emotion part I can understand, for those who have come to know her. Whatever happens, I wish her the best.

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  9. and then there's the crowd that is pissed off that so many foreign students come here and get educated and DO take their talents back home. Something about taking up space that an American youth could have had in the education process.....

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  10. Or maybe it's a fairly common name and the two links you posted show women who look nothing like her. I'm leaving your remarks up as symbolic of the considerable sexist shit I'm getting which, naif I am, I never considered.

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  11. Of all the terrible places people might have to go back to, I don't think Russia is very high on the list. Best of luck to her her but she's part of a pretty big group. A student visa is not permanent. That's why student visa are not given to folks from certain countries where the students are unlikely to return home.

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