Weiner: Bring on hotties from overseas
BY JO PIAZZA and DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
Thursday, June 12th 2008, 6:41 AM
Give me your torrid, your pure, your totally smokin' foreign babes.
Feast your eyes on the latest immigration push by Rep. Anthony Weiner, a likely 2009 mayoral contender who has introduced a bill in Congress to make it easier for foreign fashion models to get visas to work in the U.S.
Apparently, the 43-year-old Weiner - now going steady with Hillary Clinton aide and Vogue hottie Huma Abedin - thinks New York needs more professional catwalkers from Europe, Asia and other fabulous places.
"From Fashion Week to our vibrant publishing industry to the many designers that call New York City home, fashion is a vital part of our economy that drives thousands of jobs," Weiner told the Daily News.
Staffers insist Weiner is mostly trying to redress a flaw in the nation's immigration policies. Models must compete against computer geeks, doctors and other brainiacs for H-1B visas, generally reserved for the "highly specialized."
Demand has outstripped the 165,000 available H-1B's, leaving many models out in the cold.
Some red-blooded American fashionistas yesterday accused Weiner of trying to make life harder for American beauties by easing the way for imports.
"Forget trying to bring in new meat," said ex-supermodel Janice Dickinson, who hosts the "Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" reality show. "Let's divvy it up between the Americans on American soil, please."
Other fashion bigwigs argued Weiner is right - designers and photographers won't just hire American. They'll more likely take job-producing shoots to another country.
The highest-paid model in the world is Brazilian Gisele Bundchen, who made $33 million in 2007, compared to the $5 million earned by top American model Carolyn Murphy.
"If there are girls that we can't get into the United States, the client is going to take that business elsewhere," said Corinne Nicolas, president of Trump Model Management. "The market is calling for foreign girls."
Weiner's bill, first reported by Politico. com, would send models sashaying out of the prized H-1B category of visas and over to the easier-to-get P visas, mostly for entertainers and athletes.
Applicants can't be just another pretty face, though. In language that only Washington bureaucrats could dream up, the legislation spells out the requirements for America's next top non-American models.
An applicant must be "a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability" seeking to enter the U.S. temporarily "to perform fashion modeling services that involve events or productions which have a distinguished reputation."
In other words, no pole dancers.
The supermodels don't have to worry, though. The Gisele Bundchens and Naomi Campbells of the world already qualify for platinum-plated O-1 visas - set aside for foreigners of "extraordinary ability," such as Nobel Prize winners.
I fully support this message. Plus the guy's last name is Weiner.
Vote YES on Prop 69!!!
Now - Where can I get a lawn sign?