The Trump Administration’s strict policy on foreign admission to the United States is preventing Ibero-American artists from making their presentations in the country and even some are expelled.
“It has become a challenge. It is almost impossible to obtain a work visa for artists, in addition to the bureaucratic hurdles there is a lot of money to take risks,” Betto Arcos, a music researcher based in Los Angeles, California, told Efe.
Although the issue of obstacles to the entry of little-known artists in the United States is not new, the policy of the new Administration has further worsened the problem and even led to the deportation of some.
Mexican actor Carlos Bonavides, known for his portrayal of Huicho Domínguez in the telenovela El premio mayor, lived a bitter moment after being expelled from the country.
Last March, the comedian attempted to enter the country with a tourist visa to participate in a charity presentation in Texas, but Border Patrol agents at Houston Airport withdrew him and returned him to Mexico arguing that he should have a visa Artist (P, P1, P3) to enter the country to make the presentation.
Arcos, who exposed the problem at the MXLA forum that CalArts held this week in Los Angeles, said that the bureaucratic obstacles to obtaining the corresponding visa and its costs are what have forced many artists to enter with a tourist visa to make their presentations.
“The cost per application for each applicant is about $ 1,200, and this is just the app. If it’s a band of 5 people, you have to risk $ 6,000. He said.
In addition to the costs, the requirements to obtain the visas that authorize the artist to work in the country are difficult to complete especially for those who are not known in the country.
“In some cases they ask for five articles about the artist in recognized media in the US If the singer or band is new then how do we do it?”
The same day that the entrance to the country was denied to Bonavides, the actresses Maribel Fernández ‘La Pelangocha’ and Yared Licona ‘La Wanders Lover’ were withdrawn the visa, in addition they were punished with five years without being able to enter the country.
Weeks later, Mexican actress Nora Velázquez “Chabelita” suffered the same fate when she was intercepted by the authorities in her transit from Los Angeles to Seattle where she was to appear.
The argument to deny entry to these Mexican artists was that they brought a tourist visa for charity presentations where they would not receive any payment.
Immigration lawyer Fernando Romo explained to Efe that if the immigration authorities verify that the artist is receiving an economic benefit for that presentation they can deny him the entrance with a tourist visa.
“If you get paid for the plane ticket, the hotel or a gift, it can be considered an economic benefit,” he explained.
In addition to the deportation and suspension of the visa, some artists have been detained for at least three days before being returned to their country as happened with the Spanish musician BeGun who was imprisoned for 75 hours along with another colleague.
“This has been our experience in the United States of Donald Trump.” It has been the 75 hours of the most degrading and humiliating hours that Marcel and I have ever experienced, and it will be a long time before he goes back to that country. ” Artist in one of their accounts in social networks.
César Castro, master laudero and expert musician in Son Jarocho, explained that before these obstacles several artists have decided to leave behind their bands, and were forced to play with local artists to be able to realize their concerts.
For his part, the executive director emeritus of the organization Grand Performances, Michael Alexander, explained to Efe that the expenses of immigration processing, transportation, lodging and payment of artists, the promoters have to pay high tax rates that would be placing the Producers of spectacles between the sword and the wall.
With all these obstacles, Arcos barely managed to support the non-profit presentation of a group in a year.
“This is done for the sake of art and to promote Mexican culture. Last time I paid the taxes on my bag, we could not get sponsorship for that,” he said.
Steven D. Lavine, President Emeritus of CalArts and organizer of the MXLA forum, believes that it is urgent that solutions be found to this situation that is already affecting the cultural and economic exchange between the two countries.
For artists who have already been affected by the suspension of their tourist visas, the problem could be extended for years.
“We need a commitment from all sectors, the government, the public and promoters Which bring famous artists to help economically the other artists, especially those that highlight our folklore, “concluded Arcos.