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U.S. visa crackdown ‘a step too far’

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PHOTO: www.aljazeera.com

PHOTO: www.aljazeera.com

FOR Hadi Ghaemi, an Iranian American, moves this week to tighten controls on travel to the United States (U.S.) set a worrying precedent.

On Tuesday, politicians voted to stop anyone who has visited Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan during the past five years – or nationals of those countries – from travelling to the U.S. under a visa-free scheme that is available to many Europeans, even for dual citizens who also live in a non-effected country.

According to Ghaemi and other campaigners, it is the thin end of the wedge.

Not only would it make it harder for many academics, aid workers, businessmen and other Europeans with Middle Eastern connections to visit the US easily, it also reinforces negative stereotypes about the region, he said.

“I want the government to be vigilant about who enters the country, but an approach that targets entire communities, restricts them and holds them all responsible for the acts of a few, sets a dangerous precedent,” Ghaemi told Al Jazeera.


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