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Weird, any way you slice it

How do you like your pizza? With sausage? With extra cheese? Or perhaps with a dash of “showmanship”?

These things matter, apparently, because one Greek citizen living in Massachusetts was denied an immigrant visa earlier this month at least partly because his pizza-making wasn’t showy enough.

Eleutherios Spirou works for Copeland Pizza, which filed a petition for an alien worker on his behalf in 2001. In the “special requirements” section of his application form, Copeland said that the job required Spirou to “exercise showmanship in preparation of food, such as tossing pizza dough in the air to lighten texture.”

As it turns out, though, that claim might have been a little exaggerated. (A pie in the sky, one might say.) In 2005, Copeland’s owners submitted a letter in support of Spirou, which although it praised him as a worker, stated that Spirou could not “‘toss pizza dough in the air to lighten texture’ as this is a characteristic of Italian specialty pizzas.” At least partly because of this lack of pizza-making flair, Citizenship and Immigration Services wound up denying Spirou’s visa request.

Copeland appealed the decision to a Massachusetts federal court, but a judge upheld the denial Aug. 6, finding that it was not clearly erroneous. (Or pepp-erroneous, in this case.) The court said Copeland did not meet its burden to demonstrate that Spirou was qualified for the position of pizza maker—a sacred position we usually entrust only to our nation’s finest high school students.

Sidebar may not be an expert in immigration law, but we go to the pizzeria to be fed, not to be entertained. We can’t remember the last time saw such (or sausage) a seemingly trivial distinction determine the outcome of a case.

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