By Evan Dawson, Managing Editor
This decision essentially guarantees that Reinhardt will finally receive a green card. He is now permitted to apply for a change in status, and legal experts say that part of the process is a mere formality. By law, Reinhardt can apply for the change in status along with his wife, Imelda, who is also seeking a green card.
Reinhardt has spent seven years applying for permanent worker status, often referred to as a green card, only to find consistent rejection. It's a process that can cost thousands of dollars, and without permanent status, Reinhardt has been unable to start his own business.
"I have been keeping both joy and disappointment in my heart throughout this time," Reinhardt said Tuesday. "I have never tried to allow myself too much emotion in either direction. But this is quite something."
That's an understatement, particularly given the fact that Johannes and his wife had been forced to consider other countries that might allow them permanent status. But his colleagues and friends urged him to make another application, and the stack of supporting letters had grown dozens of pages deep.
"I don't know how to thank everyone involved in supporting me," Johannes said. "This has been a dream, but you never know which way it will end up. So many people have been so passionate in their support, and I will always remember that."
Chief among Reinhardt's supporters were the Martini family, owners of the Anthony Road Wine Company. John and Ann Martini have proudly worked on Reinhardt's behalf, even though it's possible the German will move on to his own wine company once the green card arrives.
But there won't be changes at Anthony Road for a while, even with this development. Reinhardt says he's looking forward to the 2011 harvest.
Editor's note: The NYCR staff has received dozens of inquiries about Johannes Reinhardt's immigration status in recent weeks. We invite you to leave your thoughts in the comments section.