It’s hard to make the argument that someone that has been repeatedly denied a green card and has essentially been in the country less-than-legally since the mid 90s should be allowed to stay, in violation of all established policy, simply because he’s popular. Intellectually, politically, I have a hard time supporting his case.
But let’s suspend litigious reason and just respect that the man loves his home, the United States, and makes a more than significant contribution to our creative culture. Thelonious Monk was an outlaw but his contribution is undeniable. The Dalai Lama is an outlaw too. I know, that’s a little ridiculous, but soak in the example.
Let’s put it in political terms and recognize that the man is influential in a significant way. Why not make him an offer? : Stay in the US & keep doing what he does. This man is not here legally, true. Also true: He’s not a threat. More true than that: He is an inspiration. Allow him to mentor some brilliant children & pay some taxes. It’s win win.
Making a negative example of him to prosecute the problematic “rest” is less intelligent than harnessing the positive example he has cultivated.