So I've been reading how a good number of athletes may not be let into the country for Worlds including African 100 record holder Ferdinand Omanyala.
Can someone explain this to me? What is the issue and who is to blame?
Everyone has known for years the track meet was going to be in Eugene this weekend. It seems like the US and the various countries should have this easily figured out, particularly for someon as high profile as Ferdinand Omanyala.
Is there a reason why a particular person wouldn't get a visa but others do? Does it mean the govt is worried about that person coming to the country?
If it was me, hell I'd just give Kenya the exact number of Visas they need - if they have 50 athletes and 50 staff, just give them 100 and let them figure it out.
If a few of them don't go back, who hell cares? We've got hundreds of thousands coming over here illegally every year anyway - a handful of talented track athletes isn't going to meaningfullly change anything anyway.
I really don't get how there is any issue for something that should have been planned years in advance. Who is to blame? Agents? US govt? Or the govt of the athletes struggling to get the visas?
The US authorities look suspect in this. Maybe persuaded by USATF. Remember Omanyala beat the Fred Kerley badly in May in Nairobi. Since Fred Kerley beat everyone badly at the USA trials, it would seem the only person capable of stopping Kerley from winning gold is Omanyala.
Or maybe Omanyala is being targeted for his past "sins"(failed drug test in 2018).
It's standard for the games' lawyers to at least 6 months ahead of schedule to supply a list of each person to the US Embassies in their respective countries. This was not done for athletes, press, etc. Very few national federations nor foreign press bureaus have ever had to initiate from scratch the US Visa process through the US Embassy. Hence the refusals and rejections.
How could you give a set of visas without checking the individuals when you have specific criminal and terrorist lists you have to check before approving anyone and how could you vet the athletes six months out when the teams aren't chosen until one month out? The fact is that attrition and limits on gov't spending have put the state department in a months long backlog for visas and passports. Try scheduling an appointment for a rush (one week) passport and you'll see what it is like. Be sure to call at exactly 8 a.m. EDT or 5 a.m. PDT to try, because within ten minutes they'll be gone and you'll have to try the next day for the next batch. Those who are paying companies hundreds for them are using autodialing programs to get in and then reserving all the appt.s before anyone using normal phones can get in (they dropped the online appt system because they were using bots to grab the spots). Until Congress appropriates more money to them and IRS and so on, we'll have a non-working gov't.
The age of Just-In-Time arrivals is over, for humans and cargo alike. Athletes need to get back to arriving at least one week ahead of championships. Supply chain issues, Covid outbreak lockdowns, fueling prizes skyrocketing (and supply undulating) because of the now faster and faster brewing WW3, etc, etc, etc are not gonna be resolved for years to come, and that will effect everything else, including legit traveling.
Agreed. It's unfortunate, but you can't ask for the US Embassy to fast track Visa's if the athletes, federations, countries that needed them dropped the ball and didn't handle this much earlier. Just because these are high profile athletes shouldn't mean they get to jump to the front of the line nor should it mean that the Embassy ignoring protocols and not properly vetting who is coming in. I hope they get all get to compete. But unless the issue squarely lies with those who issue the visas (they took longer than expected, or made mistakes etc) then it is what it is.
I am not sure of the specifics of these cases, but lately it is taking very long to get a visa to get in the US. If the teams were decided a couple of months ago, I am not surprised at all that this is happening.
The reasons I have been given are several: underfunding, covid, increased security checks that require coordination of multiple agencies etc.. In reality, the immigration system will always be the least funded and worst organized area of the government because immigrants do not vote and, in most cases, they do not complain, because their application can be pretty much arbitrarily rejected at any step of the process, so they better keep a low profile. Treating immigrants like crap actually seems to pay politically.
But elite athletes coming to the US to compete at an event like the Worlds would not be applying for immigration visas allowing them to take up residence in the USA. They'd be applying for temporary visas allowing them to visit the USA for a period. In other words, they'd be seeking visitor visas, not immigration visas. From the relevant US gov websites:
Visitor Visa Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).
In addition to the B visa category, there's the P-1 visa:
P-1: Individual or Team Athlete, or Member of an Entertainment Group
To perform at a specific athletic competition as an athlete or as a member of an entertainment group. Requires an internationally recognized level of sustained performance. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.
An athlete of Omanyala's stature should be able to get an O visa too. I believe an O visa remains valid for a number of years, so people with O visas can enter and leave the US as it suits them.
O: Individual with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
For persons with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or extraordinary recognized achievements in the motion picture and television fields, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, to work in their field of expertise. Includes persons providing essential services in support of the above individual.
When it’s multiple athletes from many federations on 3 different continents having issues, the problem is the US. It’s also WA for not anticipating these issues knowing the restrictive immigration regime in the US and I’m sure the federations aren’t the most organized, but the common denominator is the US. It’s also happening to spectators - remember the thread a couple of weeks ago offering up a hotel in Eugene because they couldn’t get into the country? It’s worse for fans because you don’t even have the pull of a federation behind you.
Whenever there’s a championship in a non-white country we always get a ton of articles about all the different human rights, construction, labour issues etc., but we don’t see the same heat for the racist and restrictive immigration systems in Europe and North America for people in the global south. For all that people hitched about Doha, for many fans it was the first meet they’d ever been able to attend because they couldn’t get into other meets in other countries. I’m not saying that minimizes or justifies the issues in other countries either; I’m saying let’s see the same criticisms of human rights in these wealthy countries towards the global south too.
Given the World Cup and Olympics coming up, the State Department needs to work this out, or it will be the first world only competition.
But hey, this is the world Coevett wants, right? Where white people get to dominate the world and everyone else should be criminalized and deported. You’re into that Rojo since you won’t do anything to stop those posts so why are you surprised now? Because it messes with your enjoyment of one track meet?
Let me remind you that it actually comes from even higher up - the IAAF is an international organization - so you could argue that every single member (nation) of the IAAF has allowed the US to host a/this WC and invite individual athletes through their national organizations. Largely it's a global cooperation thing that by far outweight any one singel ordinary citizen individual's issues with late made travel plans.