Monday, September 17, 2007
The N.Y. Times today has an article that should make one pause about the fundamental fairness of some aspects of our current immigration practices:
"Nalini Ghuman, an up-and-coming musicologist and expert on the British composer Edward Elgar, was stopped at the San Francisco airport in August last year and, without explanation, told that she was no longer allowed to enter the United States.
Her case has become a cause célèbre among musicologists and the subject of a protest campaign by the American Musicological Society and by academic leaders like Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College at Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., where Ms. Ghuman was to have participated last month in the Bard Music Festival, showcasing Elgar’s music.
But the door has remained closed to Ms. Ghuman, an assistant professor at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., who is British and who had lived, studied and worked in this country for 10 years before her abrupt exclusion.
The mystery of her case shows how difficult, if not impossible, it is to defend against such a decision once the secretive government process has been set in motion. "
Do you feel safer today? More confident in our immigration laws and their enforcement?
UPDATE The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. has made it difficult for a number of foreign musicians to come to the United States in recent days. British pop star Lily Allen was supposed to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards last weekend and then head to the West Coast for the week of sold-out concerts she had booked. Instead, she spent this past week at home in London. The reason: The chart-topping singer can't get into the U.S. American authorities took away her immigration visa last month. At least three anticipated tours by British artists scheduled for this month alone have been called off or pushed back because of musicians' visa problems. That is on top of at least 10 scuttled tours by buzzed-about British acts in the last year.