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October 10, 2007


Greg Morrow

America's immigration and travel policies manage the trifecta of being bureaucratic, evil, and stupid. Hooray for my country, which prefers to be terrified than heroic.

Ernesto Priego

I appreciate the post, but I would like to say that I wasn't "denied entry"; my visa was not renewed, most probably because I did not apply for it in person and did not submit enough documents proving what I'd be doing in the States. So they didn't know I was going to a conference. I had just applied for a normal renewal.

I don't want to make any further public comments on this matter, but I wanted to publicly clarify the distinction between being denied entry as a scholar and not having gotten the paper renewed. Information travels very fast on the Internet, and sometimes it gets distorted as it flies over the seas of bits and pixels.

I am, of course, profoundly sorry I won't be able to attend ICAF...

Please receive my kindest regards.


Ernesto, we're all sorry you won't be able to attend as well. We hope you'll allow Charles to read your paper in absentia so we can at least hear your work.

Thanks for weighing in publicly on this, and for your generous and conciliatory comments. You're right to call our attention to the difference between being denied entry and being denied entry as a scholar. Unfortunately, the end result is the same either way, a limit on academic freedom. I doubt the government had any reason or intention to bar a presentation on the history of comics, which is part of what makes your treatment so capricious, so absurdly unjust.

Ernesto Priego

Indeed, Mark, it's more a random thing than anything else. Also, I must confess I should have known better and taken more precautions. To be honest, I've been so overwhelmed with work and family matters here in London and Mexico that I just didn't have the peace of mind to prepare my application more carefully.

It's very easy (and normal) to feel upset about something like this. It's indeed a shame that these procedures are making it more and more difficult -and in the end less desirable- to go to the US, whether it is for work or for pleasure. This definitely affects international exchange of information and the construction of knowledge. How can we as humanity expect to grow and achieve world peace if we can't talk to each other, know how we live, see each others as equal?

What bothers me a bit is the rationale behind , that the rest of the world really wants to go and live in the US. Not everyone does. Actually, there's people who definitely don't want to, and are only interested in visiting the country, exchanging knowledge, work towards the common good. But when one sees things like this, well, it's more than scary.

I always enjoy going to conferences in the US. I have lots of friends in academia and the arts, people from all backgrounds. When I was in Boston last April presenting at the PCA national conference I visited the National Public Library and The John Adams Library. John Adams was the kind of politician that understood the importance of ethical politics, peace, tolerance and respect.

I look forward to meeting you in person again, Marc, and give you a long, brotherly abrazo.

Greetings from London.

Ernesto Priego

(Sorry for misspelling your name, at the top of that comment, Marc!)

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