Wednesday, March 27, 2019

International Comic Creators Prevented From Attending US Comic Book Conventions at Border

Dreadful news.

International comic creators who have been invited guests to comic conventions in the US are being turned back at the border. Bleeding Cool News has the story:

"Naturally, people are not that keen to share details. This could be US border officials taking issue with comic book creators traveling on personal rather than business/work visas, but this has been acceptable for comic book conventions for decades. That the rules and regulations are suddenly being tightened – and comic conventions’ ability to attract international guests curtailed – does not bode well for the future."

Brian Garside puts it succinctly in the comments section for the article:

"As a Canadian who travels to the United States semi-regularly, the rules seem to be changing rapidly with little to no warning, and even individual border agents don't seem to know fully what the rules are on any given day. You may get in today and be refused tomorrow for the exact same reasons."

Historically, it's hard for border agents to "get" what a person in the comic book business does and why they go to conventions. When the agent asks if this visit is work-related, the answer from the international comics creator is, "Yes."

Then comes the money questions: Will you be earning money in the United States? Well, the convention MAY be paying for them, and an appearance can certainly help your bottom line. They can, in many cases, visit with their American publishers and fellow comic book creators. Now, if the agents think that this international person is doing labor in the US without the proper visa, then they will be refused.

The big reason why these comic book creators are here are to further their careers. I remember reading about one fellow who was up for an award at a California convention. He found out via social media, on his way back home, after being refused entry for not having a work visa.

I am just shaking my head at this. The current xenophobia (read the comments at the bottom of the article) is just crazy. It's frustrating and gives me a headache. I am thinking now that the only point that the US has is cruelty.

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