At last month’s FreedomFest in Las Vegas, we had six delegates from Poland. We should have had more than 20. But the U.S. embassy in Warsaw refused to grant more than a dozen tourist visas to these Polish people who wanted to come to the big show. These were top-quality citizens and good people who have the financial means to come to the United States. They love America and wanted to participate in our festival. There’s not a terrorist among them. But my government, in its infinite wisdom, turned them down for no good reason.
It is worse for foreigners who might have an Arabic name. Take Mehmet Koksal, the project officer for the European Federation of Journalists. He’s a Turkish citizen with a Belgian passport who regularly had visited the United States and frequently attended meetings at the U.S. embassy in Brussels where he has met Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, among others. He has no criminal record.
He bought tickets for his wife and children to visit New York and Florida, but then he suddenly was turned down by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’sElectronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Despite “in-depth interviews” and numerous requests for an explanation, he never got one and was forced to cancel his trip at a huge cost.
His story is told in today’sWall Street Journal. Read and weep for our country.
Sadly, the U.S. government is making enemies out of our friends.
Where’s the outrage? Where’s the apology? I am ashamed of my country’s government.
In case you missed it, I encourage you to read my e-letter column from last week aboutthe value of using gross output as an economic indicator.