Fear of US ban for Yo Yo Ma’s clarinetist

Fear of US ban for Yo Yo Ma’s clarinetist


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2017

Kinan Azmeh, a US resident for the past 16 years, is performing with Yo Yo Ma in Lebanon at the end of a long tour.

But Kinan, 40, is worried he won’t be allowed to return home to Brooklyn because he’s Syrian by origin.

He was granted a green card three years ago on an EB-1 visa, for those who show ‘extraordinary ability’ in science, business, or art.

‘New York is where I developed my musical skills, and where I grew as an artist, he told Associated Press.

Just past of the prevailing chaos.



  • Peter says:

    Second story on this blog this morning about green card holders. The issue was clarified last night and has been widely reported in US and UK media. Here’s the official DHS release from John Kelly.

    • Steven Holloway says:

      Such is the statement released. However, the more recent news is that officials of various stripes at airports are not allowing green card holders in. Far, far more important, they are also ignoring the court orders ruling the ban unconstitutional and putting a hold on it. The officials are scoffing at the law, and so does the rule of law break down. Said officials have also denied detainees access to lawyers, again in defiance of court rulings. They have refused to talk with members of Congress who have visited airports to determine just what is going on. If the officials have been ordered to do any or all of this by the White House, possibly the recently elevated Bannon, the U.S. has a constitutional crisis underway.

      • V.Lind says:

        Airlines are afraid of fines if they admit people from the seven prohibited countries. And of course the people carrying out these orders, despite any clarifications or exemptions, are the same types that ignore company policies regarding transporting musical instruments. So good luck getting consistency or intelligence from these underpaid, under-trained, under-educated, under-motivated, largely immigrant staff.

        Less understandable is the fact that Boris Johnson was apparently assured by US counterparts that there would be an exemption for UK citizens, but at the same time the US Embassy in London will not grant them visas. These are employees of the State Department and their local hires.

        This ain’t over, and there will be a lot of trouble before it is sorted. Impeachment? Indictment? What is it going to take to re-inject some sanity into the US?

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    I was under the impression that every citizen of the USA apart from American Indians had ancestors who came from another country to live in the Land of the Free. Able to practice their religion etc. without problems. Does Trump know?

    • Giorgio says:

      Elizabeth, this is not the issue.
      Read the article, also the replies.
      Study the existing laws.

    • Robert Holmén says:

      At least since the Know-Nothings and Nativists of the 1800s there has been a faction that believes the US is for the established white class and not for recent immigrants.

  • Giorgio says:

    Ask a citizen to help you with the entry at Immigration check. Once a Vietnamese doctor, a UCLA professor was detained in Los Angeles. I met his family on the plane and the wife was running after me at the airport, that at immigration his husband had his green card taken away and was told to “go back to Vietnam!”
    I followed her to immigration and asked the employees, “What seems to be the problem?”
    They looked at me and stayed, “no problem, he can have his green card back and free to enter the US.”
    I guess as citizens, we can always help in certain situations.
    Good luck and do not get scared and give up.

  • pancho says:

    I see that he had a green card for 3 of the 16 years, what was his status the other 13 years? Why can’t he be a citizen by now?