As many people in the Steamboat Springs community know, I have been traveling to Kenya three to four times a year since 2006 — originally to assist a group of Maasai young women to attend post-secondary school but now, to visit my grandson of sorts there and his mother, one of that original group of young women.
People who believe our President’s rhetoric that people coming into the U.S. were not being properly vetted prior to his administration have bought into an insidious and very racist lie. In fact, ask any consular officer or career employee — all Americans — at any U.S. embassy anywhere in the world, and they will give you the straight truth that getting even a tourist visa to visit the U.S. and only under tightly controlled parameters is exceedingly difficult, and always has been.
I should know. Caroh has been turned down twice since 2010 to visit me and my husband here in Steamboat Springs, even though she could prove to the consular officer who performed her compulsory interview that we were paying for her trip, including a roundtrip plane ticket, and that all her needs would be met during her visit, and furthermore, that she had paid her school fees for her upcoming university school term back in Nairobi.
Add to that this absolutely silly notion that it is as simple as buying a plane ticket and setting down at JFK airport. People who believe such nonsense should read up on the basic processes involved in exiting a foreign country, transitting through a foreign country and arriving at an airport in the U.S. that originates outside of the U.S. At every single juncture that visa is examined and in the last instance by a U.S. Border and Customs control officer who has the ultimate authority to decide whether the visa will be honored and a person allowed to pass into the U.S.
Education is such a privilege, and I am ashamed that more of my fellow Americans don’t take advantage of the opportunities they’ve been given to be informed and to think for themselves about the world we actually live in.
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