9/11 Immigration Restrictions: Effects on Entertainment and Cultural Exchange

Ever since the terrorist attack on the twin towers on 9/11/2001, the United States and other countries have stepped up immigration protection at international borders and for good reason. Nevertheless, it is also true that some people have said these restrictions have gone too far. In a recent New York Times article, Larry Rohter talks about how immigration restrictions after 9/11/2001 have affected foreign performers, artists, and other entertainers.  Specifically, the problem is that these foreign performers are unable to enter into the United States to give performances because their entry is being significantly delayed or even denied due to red tape in entering the United States.  In fact, some international performers and performance groups have decided that is no longer worthwhile to try to enter the United States because the delays are just too extensive. To help alleviate the concerns, the United States does offer and expedited two week entry decision but it costs nearly four times as much as the regular application, which typically requires up to six weeks for a decision. Moreover, the government typically does not make decisions within the promised two week time frame so the extra money for the expedited process does not even guarantee a faster decision.

While such a problem may not seem overly concerning in the scale of things, many have voiced concerns about the ill effects such problems have on cultural exchange and international unity. Also, it is important to point out that these problems are essentially nonexistent for many other countries like Canada and Britain. Lastly, in addition to the concerns already mentioned, there are also reports that some of the delays result from racial profiling. While the United States’ government denied that this is the case, there is some evidence that the admission of Arab and Muslim performers typically involved longer periods of delay.

2 comments

  1. The delay in foreign performers being able to enter the country could be affecting the economy as well. I am not sure exactly by how much. However, I think that we need to be careful. It is likely that these performers make a lot of money coming into America. If so then it will be worth the wait. It is important to our national security that we properly screen who is coming in even for a short time. We have a problem in this country of people being granted access for a limited stay and then they never leave. Obviously, if the performer or entertainer is high profile it would be easily discoverable if they overstay their welcome, but I am sure that high profile entertainers are not subject to these limitations. These entertainers want to come into the country for some reason, likely employment, it does not seem like too much of an imposition to have to plan ahead and wait for admittance considering the state of the country in fighting terrorism.

  2. I completely agree with Lindsay on this issue. If these performers know in advance that they are going to be coming to the United States they should plan ahead and apply for admittance into the country as early as they can. It is inevitable that non-citizens are going to have a delay when seeking entrance into the country, but I do not think that we should change our procedures. We have implemented a certain screening process that allows us the time necessary to properly evaluate all of those who seek to visit this country. After 9/11 there is no such thing as too careful, and I think we are doing the right thing. In addition, these performers do have knowledge of our strict requirements for entrance and should schedule accordingly. It would be unwise for a foreign entertainer to try and visit the country merely a week or two after admitting the required paperwork. Although our restrictions may be inflexible they are not a secret, so it is up to those wanting to visit to be proactive in providing ample time to be evaluated by our process.

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