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Immigrants Of The Week: Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Michael Cronin, Salma Hayek, Pierre Omidyar, And Fareed Zakaria

by Greg Siskind

Editor's note: Here are some entries from Greg Siskind's blog.


Cuban-American Congressman Diaz-Balart, a Republican, has represented his Miami, Florida district since 1993. Diaz-Balart has become known as one of the most pro-immigration Republicans in Congress and has championed such issues as the DREAM Act and Temporary Protected Status eligibility for Haitians. The Havana native was also the primary sponsor of the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act of 1997 (NACARA), one of the more important immigration bills enacted in the 1990s.

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One of my first clients when I left a large law firm and became a solo immigration lawyer was Mike Cronin, a British national who had been sent to Nashville to work on a project to build one of the largest recording studios in the Music City. Years have passed and my firm has now grown to one of the largest in the country. And Mike remains a good friend.

Mike was originally sent to Nashville by his protégé, the legendary Tom Hidley. Mike ended up staying in Nashville and over the ensuing years has become one of the world's top recording studio designers working on projects in Africa, Europe, Asia and across America. There's a good chance the soundtrack for a movie you've seen has been recorded in a studio on which Mike worked and you very well may have heard music recorded in a Cronin-designed studio.

Google "Michael Cronin Acoustic Construction" and you'll see links to many of the projects Mike's handled.

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Salma Hayek is a Mexican-born actress familiar to most Americans for her television and film work. She's been nominated for both the Academy Award (for her starring role as Frida Kahlo in the film Frida) and the Emmy Award. She's an influential producer of the hit show Ugly Betty, one of the most popular shows on American television.

Hayek is also considered one of the most beautiful actresses in the world, something that I have to say I can personally attest to as I found myself sitting next to her last year at a live theater production in New York.

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Pierre Omidyar was born a week before me in Paris to Iranian parents and immigrated to the United States at age 6. He founded eBay in 1995 and if you don't know all about eBay, then chances are someone had to print out this blog post for you because you're the last person in America who hasn't started using that new-fangled thing called the Internet.

Omidyar has become one of the richest people on the planet and is also a major philanthropist. Omidyar was lucky enough to have had parents who legally immigrated. Would he have had the same good fortune if his parents were no legal? How many future Pierre Omidyars are we losing by not passing the DREAM Act?

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Fareed Zakaria is an Indian-American who is now one of the most recognizable foreign policy analysts in the United States. He writes a very popular column in Newsweek (one I regularly read) and is a regular on ABC News' This Week with George Stefanopoulus. His mother was a famous journalist in her own right serving as the Sunday editor of the Times of India.

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About The Author

Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.