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Foreigners Need Not Apply

Guitar player illustration

Anyone who’s been through an airport since 9/11 can tell you how all the heightened security measures have made it more difficult, but hopefully safer, to travel by air. Travelers now must get to the airport earlier, stand in line longer and have their belongings searched much more often-but things are a whole lot more complicated for people trying to get into the U.S. to work-even for well-known artists who have been hired to perform in the U.S. (and have done so before) or have been invited to attend awards ceremonies.

For the third year in a row, Cuban musicians nominated for Grammy awards were not present at this year’s ceremony. The artists in question were pianist Chucho Valdes, singer Ibrahim Ferrer of the Buena Vista Social Club, percussionist Amadito Valdes, veteran guitarist Manuel Galban and singer Barbarito Torres. In a statement by an unnamed U.S. official in Cuba, these artists were considered “detrimental to the interest of the United States” under the jurisdiction section of 212f of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states that the American president can deny U.S. entry to foreigners. In the case of the Cuban musicians, the U.S. doesn’t allow communists or employees of a communist government to enter.

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