No 'Trump Ban' worry for J'can athletes
Two American immigration lawyers agree that Jamaican athletes have nothing to fear with regard to moving to America to seek opportunities in sports in light of the recent immigration controversy.
However, a recent incident involving former Trindad and Tobago and Manchester United star player Dwight Yorke causes concern for at least one of the attorneys.
United States President Donald Trump made updates to his immigration ban on Mon-day, in his attempts to curb the arrival of refugees from countries with Muslim cultures, from which he believes many international terrorists and terror groups originate.
There are many Jamaicans who believe this immigration ban will eventually evolve and not only affect Jamaicans living in the US right now, but also prevent others from moving there. Some of these Jamaicans are athletes and as such, they fear it will hamper their careers if they cannot move to the US to sign for professional sports teams or gain sports scholarships for American Universities.
Ksenia Maiorova is a managing partner at the Maiorova Law Group based in Orlando, Florida, and she said that any attempt to restrict immigrants’ entry into the US at the moment are not currently enforceable.
“The first thing to note is that portions of the Executive Order on immigration, specifically, those dealing with the so-called Muslim ban, have been stayed by the federal court,” Maiorova said. “The remaining provisions are currently being implemented. The provisions of the Executive Order do not, at this time, include anything that I believe would be an impediment for Jamaican athletes seeking sports visas or green cards to the US, provided, of course, they do not have a criminal history.”
Maiorova continued: “A person may be subject to removal or deportation from the US up until they become a US citizen. But this is only if they commit certain acts like falsely claim to be a US citizen, stay out of the US for too long, or commit certain crimes. That is part of the existing law today. Trump cannot unilaterally take away green cards for no cause at all. Athletes who are here on green cards are not subject to deportation unless they commit one of these acts, which would, by law, make them deportable.”
Yorke was recently denied entry to the US because he had previously visited Iran (one of Trump’s banned nations), and his passport had been stamped to show this.
Attorney Dahlia Walker-Huntington, who based in Hollywood, Florida, says that this is not cause for Jamaicans to be fearful, but they should be concerned.
“I don’t like the word fear because it makes people paralysed,” she said. “You should be concerned and you should seek competent representation if you are an athlete in a similar situation.
“The issue with Trinidad, why it’s a little different from Jamaica, is that Trump himself even singled out Trinidad with regard to its Muslim population. So what happened to a Trinidadian athlete may not happen to a Jamaican. But if someone is travelling to any of those countries and they intend to enter the US at some point, they need to get some representation as to what can be expected.”
There are currently 13 Jamaicans playing MLS football in the US, with several others playing in the lowerteired USL competition. Jamaicans from a wide range of sports disciplines such as basketball and athletics also compete and train on a regular basis in the country.