In addition to being an alien extra-terrestrial, Thor is in the United States illegally, and is indeed an illegal alien. In the 2011 Marvel film, Thor arrived in New Mexico via the Bifröst rainbow bridge wormhole, circumventing well established border and immigration controls. He is entirely undocumented. Here are my thoughts on the matter as a veteran immigration attorney.
Though Thor is the God of Thunder, and a Prince of Asgard, he arrived in the US as a tourist, with no diplomatic mission or official capacity. And even though Odin sent him here to learn humility, he does not quality as a student.
After the New Mexico incident depicted in the first THOR movie, S.H.I.E.L.D. could launch a cover up. Especially suppressing the illegal immigration, since Thor returned to Asgard. But after the Battle of New York, The Avengers became international heroes, and there is no denying Thor’s immigration status. This must be very embarrassing to US government officials, since one of The Avengers, one of the Heroes of New York, is flouting our laws.
Could US Politicians tolerate an illegal immigrant as a superhero role model?
Being an alien deity, Thor does not recognize the laws or borders of Earthlings. Mjolnir is his passport! But S.H.I.E.L.D. could hire an immigration lawyer to take care of the bureaucracy and do all the paperwork for Thor to earn a visa. But which visa would Thor quality for?
The United States does not have diplomatic relations with Asgard. Nor has Asgard ever been considered for the Visa Waiver Program. So though Thor needs a visa, it will be difficult to arrange for one since where he comes from officially does not exist. What are the non-immigrant visas for which Thor could apply through the USCIS?
- A-1 visa is for heads of state, ambassadors, ministers, and diplomats on official business. As Prince of Asgard, this works, as long as his official business is “saving the planet”. He was sent here to protect the Nine Realms after all.
- B-1 is a temporary visa for pleasure. Appropriate for Thor when he intends to hang out with Jane here on Midgard, without official duties.
- H-1B visas are for professionals in specific fields. S.H.I.E.L.D. could certainly claim this, but this visa requires advanced academic degrees, or equivalents. Thor would need to provide his Asgardian diploma and college transcripts. That will not happen.
- IR-1 is the visa Thor would apply for if he ever married Jane, a US citizen.
- O-1 is for Aliens with Extraordinary Abilities. Sounds perfect. This is often used for actors, Nobel Prize winners, and athletes. BTW, Justin Beiber resides in the US on an O-1 visa.
- R-1 is for persons in a religious occupation. God of Thunder, day of the week named after him (Thursday), might qualify for this.
Even if a visa were applied for, there are many many reasons why Thor’s application might be rejected. A few of the most likely reasons are “failure to establish entitlement to nonimmigrant status”, “incompatible application”, “unlawful presence”, “physical or mental disorder”, and “commission of acts of extrajudicial killings”.
US Citizenship for an Asguardian?
Given Thor’s prominence in defending New York from the Chitauri invasion in The Avengers, many US politicians might want to take his immigration status a step further. A senator out to make a name for himself might try to make Thor an American citizen. This would solve all the visa issues, and be a feather in the cap of the government. It is possible for individuals to be granted US Citizenship directly by Congress. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress authority over immigration, and they have used this many times to aid individuals. The method is called passing a “private law”, since it applies to a private individual. As opposed to public laws that Congress usually pass.
Private laws for US Citizenship have been used when the bureaucratic process cannot work for a person. A wealthy actor with a prior drug conviction, or the spouse of a deposed head of state, or an orphan child refugee. Private laws were very common fifty years ago, but are not used as frequently today.
But if Congress waved a constitutionally magic wand and granted Thor citizenship, would he even want it? Would he take an oath, pose for a passport photo, or submit to Earthly law? Unlikely.
So that brings us to honorary citizenship. Honorary US Citizenship is a real thing. It has only been granted a few times in history. And it can be given in absentia, and even without the recipient knowing about it. Congress even granted it to a dead guy. In the 20th Centruy, Winston Churchill and Mother Theresa were honored. Honorary citizenship is the perfect solution to Thor’s presence in America. It is purely symbolic, and has no legal benefits or obligations. He could not vote, or collect social security, or play for the USA in the Olympics. The upside is that Politicians would get to claim Thor as an American, whilst creating a whiff of a defense to Thor being here illegally.
As an illegal immigrant, is Thor stealing jobs from homegrown American heroes? Perhaps it is a good thing Thor broke laws (of physics!) to save New York. Otherwise we might have Dazzler, or Ulysses S. Archer, or Phil Grayfield the comicbook NFL SuperPro as one of The Avengers.
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