ISM writes to the US Government to object to their process for visa applications
The ISM has signed a joint letter to the U.S. Department of State objecting to their process for visa applications. Coordinated by Tamizdat, it has been signed by arts organisations around the world including the US Association of Performing Arts Professionals, the Canadian Live Music Association and the International Theatre Institute, Germany.
As the letter explains, the “extreme vetting” questions exacerbate an artist visa process that is already unpredictable, arbitrary, unnecessarily burdensome. For example, applicants must currently provide all social media handles, phone numbers, and email addresses used during the last five years.
It is an impediment to U.S. culture and commerce, especially with respect to its impact on arts organizations working with artists from Muslim-majority countries and the Global South. Furthermore, the “discretionary” use of the form is prone to discriminatory abuse and the format has a chilling effect on artistic expression and free speech.
Finally, there is no public evidence that these intrusive and burdensome questions serve or have served to protect national security or otherwise further national interests. Moreover, the Department of State has failed to institute procedures that protect against the misuse of the information collected.