Monthly Archives: July 2022

Episode 17: Silky Smooth: I-9 Compliance and Entry Without Inspection with Zohan from You Don’t Mess With The Zohan

In this episode, Shai and Roderick continue with part 2 of the Hasta La Visa, Baby co-host cultural heritage series. This time, they discuss all things Israel and the Middle East by analyzing the 2008 Adam Sandler comedy, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan. Yes, even Hasta La Visa, Baby has to analyze a very bad movie from time to time.

The Immigration concepts they will explore include U.S. employer I-9 obligations and foreign nationals who enter the U.S. without inspection. Plus, our co-hosts contemplate the worst movie they’ve ever seen.

Listen to the Episode:

Show Notes

Welcome to The Hasta La Visa, Baby podcast, a deep-dive into the relationship between U.S. immigration law and fictitious characters from some of your favorite television shows and movies. Hosted by Gibney Immigration group attorneys Shai Dayan and Roderick Potts, each episode focuses on a particular character from a well-known show or film and guides listeners through an in-depth and entertaining exploration into the possible U.S. visa status that the featured character may have held while in the U.S. Listeners will learn about key immigration considerations through the prism of the fun and fictitious worlds presented in television and film.

Today, Shai and Roderick discuss You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, a 2008 comedy in which Adam Sandler plays Zohan, an Israeli soldier and counter-terrorist. He is somewhat famous for the amount of terrorists he has stopped. Tired of military life, Zohan’s dream is to move to New York and work as a hairstylist. He fakes his death, sneaks into the U.S., advances his way to becoming a full-time hairstylist and marries.

Although this movie is quite inappropriate and not very entertaining, it does boast many great immigration principles. First, let’s discuss Zohan’s immigration background. We know he entered the U.S. by sneaking into JFK through the cargo bay of a plane. He then bypassed customs by hiding in a dog crate. This is what we call entry without inspection, which can have severe consequences. Based on what we see in the movie, then, Zohan could not have been legally employed in the U.S. Employers who violate the law by employing unauthorized foreign nationals could face severe violations. We are reminded that employers are responsible for ensuring their employees are authorized.

After speaking about their least favorite movies, our hosts imagine a hypothetical consultation with Zohan. In this meeting, Zohan wants to learn about his options for legalizing his U.S. residency. Sadly and unfortunately, because he snuck into the U.S. and was not inspected, there are no laws in place that would allow him to legalize his status here. He would be advised that he can no longer work in the salon and that he runs the risk of being inspected, detained and placed under court proceedings to be removed from the U.S. If that were to happen, he could be barred from ever applying for legal status in the future. He needs to voluntarily depart the U.S. ASAP, without the guarantee that he will ever be allowed to return. The episode ends with a few final (unfavorable) takeaways from the movie.


Learn more about the movie featured in this episode: You Don’t Mess With The Zohan.
Learn more about Shai Dayan, Roderick Potts, and Gibney Anthony & Flaherty, LLP.
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