The Case of the CrossFitter and CBP’s Port-Parole

Written by: Rosa Acevedo, Esq.

“My adventures in immigration law have led me to different paths and different clients.  Nothing was more memorable than the CrossFit athlete who entered the United States at the last-minute under port-parole.


The athlete’s issues began when it became apparent that an overstay on a visa was an issue that could not be solved while in the United States.  We needed to come to a solution that would cure this problem and get the athlete back in time for the 2016 CrossFit Games. At that time, we were unsure if she would qualify because her odds were stacked against the Dottirs of Iceland and the other extraordinary competitors  in the European region.  We believed in our athlete, and she believed in us as well.  So we filed an O-1 petition for her extraordinary ability and we got her in line for an interview with a Consular officer.  We sought assistance from Senator’s Enzi’s office, and it was determined that this decision was stuck at the Department of State.  While this occurred, our athlete placed in the top 5 of the European Regionals and got herself a ticket to the 2016 CrossFit Games.  We were now even more nervous, excited, and zealous in our efforts to get the athlete into the United States.


We thereafter sought assistance from the CrossFit community, which proved to be an immense help to the athlete’s case.  We pressured the Department of State to issue a decision on reconsideration, and they did, but against us.  We felt deflated, exhausted, and an overwhelming feeling that our athlete would not be able to come to the CrossFit Games and dominate as she had done in the past.


As a last resort, I turned to the Customs and Border Protection office in San Diego to see if they could help me with what was now my crusade to help our athlete get into the United States.  I went to the office in downtown San Diego and was called by Officer Murillo, a man who knew his rules, and knew that I was looking for something.  I started telling him the story of the CrossFit athlete that made the mistake of listening to the wrong person and got into a difficult situation.  I told him that this athlete was extraordinary; she was a viable contender, and one of the best in the world.  I told him that we had gone through all avenues to get her into the United States, but nobody would listen to us.  I told him that this was her last CrossFit Games, and the whole CrossFit community was anxious, nervous, and waiting for her to come into the United States.  Officer Murillo listened attentively to my story, took our documents, and told me that he would get in touch with his supervisor.  He told me to contact him each day until we got a decision to allow our athlete to come in to the United States.


In the end, the 2016 CrossFit Games took place in Carson City, California.  Our athlete proudly represented her country, and we were able to get her into the United States under port-parole with the help of Customs and Border Protection.  This was all thanks to our athlete’s extraordinary abilities and her belief in our abilities as zealous advocates.  This was thanks to the CrossFit community for getting passionately involved in our cause.  Finally, this was all thanks to Customs and Border Protection and Officer Murillo, who listened to my arguments and believed in my crusade.”


If you would like to get in contact with Rosa Acevedo, you may reach her at [email protected].


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