US Suffers Loss of Culture from Lack of Visas

The United States has long been a place of great cultural interaction, where individuals can learn about other traditions and art forms within their own neighborhoods. In the modern world, several foreign performers who would like to share their talents have been stopped from entering the country due to miscalculations or mistakes with U.S. visas.

A Spanish flamenco star, called Pitingo, who was scheduled to perform at Manhattan Center’s Grand Ballroom was recently denied his already-processed visa because of a procedural mix-up, The New York Times reported.

While the mix-up was a loss to all individuals who were looking forward to Pitingo’s performance, arguably the most costly loss was to Pitingo’s management team, which lost $25,000 from the missed performance.

Costly mistakes like this have made the United States a much less alluring destination for performers, who have decided that the country’s immigration and work visa proceedings are not worth the effort or damage they could incur. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security saw the number of visas for foreign performers drop nearly 25 percent between 2006 and 2010.

Current procedures force foreign performers to fill out an application with Homeland Security, then do an in-person interview with the State Department, the Times reported.

“I didn’t think it could get worse than it was after 9/11, but the last couple of years have been terrible. It just seems like you have to fight for everything across the board, even for artists of renown,” law expert Palma R. Yanni told the Times. “The standards have not changed, but the agency just keeps narrowing the criteria, raising the bar without notice or comment, reinterpreting things and just making everything more restrictive. We call it the culture of no.”

If visa restrictions had been so lengthy and difficult in the past, it is likely that the United States would have been graced with far fewer beloved performers. Fox News stated that Michael J. Fox started acting in the U.S. before his visa had been finalized, something that would likely not occur today.