Documentary on One

The Loophole

A story of betrayal, scheming, paranoia, money and one of the world's most prestigious law schools, The Loophole looks at the lengths people will go to in order to realise their dreams and the callousness of those who try to shatter them.

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Documentary Maker: Sheena Madden

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Documentary Maker: Ciaran Cassidy

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The Loophole

In 2005, word quickly spread through Irish communities in America that a visiting professor and attorney at Yale Law School had found a loophole in the immigration system that would make it attainable for the undocumented to get a green card. For some 50,000 Irish living in America illegally, this was huge. This was what they had been waiting for.

The process seemed watertight. Clients would meet Ralph Cucciniello in Yale’s world-renowned Law Library, where he would explain everything. After handing over an initial fee of $5000 and filling in official Government documentation, Cucciniello would arrange for them to attend a medical exam and have their fingerprints taken at an office in the Empire State Building. 

It was a lot of money, yes, but this loophole meant that would be able to emerge from the shadows and live legally and openly in America. They could go back to Ireland to visit family and friends. They could pay taxes and access health care. And this scheme was being run by the Immigration Clinic at the prestigious Yale Law School… there was nothing to worry about, right?

A story of betrayal, scheming, paranoia, millions of dollars, Yale Law School and the Irish in America: Documentary on One: The Loophole looks at the lengths people will go to in order to realise their dreams… and callousness of the people lurking in the ether, waiting for the chance to shatter them.

First broadcast RTÉ Radio 1, 30 May 2015.

Narrated and produced by Sheena Madden

Production supervision by Ciaran Cassidy

Sound supervision by Mark McGrath

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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