Los Angeles, Mar 27 (EFE).- The five-year ban on US entry imposed on four Mexican actors and comedians who arrived in this country without work visas has sparked sorrow and fear among the community of artists from the US southern neighbor, especially among “mariachi” band members.
Cultural diversity is the face Los Angeles shows to the world, the city’s mayor, Eric Garcetti, told EFE, promising to continue fighting so that everyone feels welcome and secure there.
Garcetti spoke regarding what happened to actress Nora Velazquez, known for her “Chabelita” character, and comedians Carlos Bonavides, (“Huicho Dominguez”), Maribel Fernandez (“La Pelangocha”) and Yered Licona (“La Wanders Lover”).
Velazquez was returned to Mexico in early March from the Los Angeles airport, where Customs and Border Protection agents questioned her for arriving in the US to earn money without a work visa, and something similar happened to the other three, who came to participate in a party at a Houston restaurant.
The four cases aroused concern among Mexican artists and solidarity among local residents, but immigration authorities denied to EFE that there was any kind of ongoing persecution of artists and recommended that people come to the US with the appropriate visas.
Arturo Ramirez, the president of the OMULA California mariachi organization, told EFE that there is disappointment surrounding what happened to the artists, but he denied rumors about raids by immigration agents at Mariachi Plaza in Los Angeles, where mariachis gather to find performance gigs.
“Yes, it hurts us that they were not allowed to enter … because we’re comrades in the same art,” but the same thing “is happening with everyone,” said Ramirez, a member of the Mariachi Los Dorados de Villa band, apparently alluding to the tightening of immigration policy by the Donald Trump administration.
Mexican artists “have to come here to be able to show their talent and the culture” of their country, Vanesa Moreno, a singer with the Mariachi las Alteñas in San Antonio, told EFE.