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Owner of Eat More Produce denied green card

Situation throws future of farm-market store in Winter Park into question

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This isn't the first time a Canadian citizen and Orlando resident has had his livelihood jeopardized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In 2010, local music legend and philanthropist Benoit Glazer, a conductor for Cirque du Soleil, was denied his request for a green card. According to a letter he received from USCIS, "his accomplishments have not had a significant or sustained impact with [sic] their field." But, with the expertise of a lawyer and the weight of a congressman behind him, Glazer was able to successfully leverage his musical accomplishments to be granted EB-1 status by USCIS, which allowed him to remain here.

"We look at each application very carefully, and every case is examined on its own merits," says Sharon Scheidhauer, public affairs officer for USCIS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. "When we do deny someone an application, we lay out the reasons for denial clearly in the letter. If the applicant disagrees, they have appeal rights and we take another look at the application. If someone is denied a particular visa, they may apply for any other visa for which he or she qualifies as well. Still, the burden is on the applicant to prove his or her case."

Like Glazer, Gage is appealing his denial and banking on a politician to give his case the support it needs. Yet, short of winning a Nobel Prize, it is unlikely Gage will be able to fulfill the same green card criteria as Glazer.

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