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Anti-Immigration Laws are Affecting Talented Players for the US

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By: Edward Norton 01 May 2014 09:45:50

Anti-Immigration Laws are Affecting Talented Players for the US

How many superstars across the world have been denied entrance into another country simply due to their immigration status? Perhaps there are some serious legalities involved or by chance their visas were revoked for not fully disclosing all information as in the case of Luke Rodgers. Once a person has made a knowing misrepresentation on his or her immigration visa application, they often become inadmissible into the U.S. for life.

There are a myriad of reasons why a foreign player would be denied access to another country and the inability to play for another club. Issues connected to citizenship and immigration have long been a source of often heated debate in the United States. One of the consequences of the flawed immigration system in the United States is visible in US soccer, where a number of foreign players have been deemed to be ineligible to represent Team USA in spite of the fact they meet the FIFA eligibility criteria. Eighteen-year-old Diego Fagundez, who plays for the New England Revolution, is one of those affected by these rules. Why aren’t immigrants making a bigger impact playing soccer for the Red, White & Blue?

It sure would be nice to see all of the best players representing the United States, and being cheered by the home crowds. An even greater cause for concern than the lack of immigrants on the national side is the fact that some top-notch U.S.-born soccer players are choosing to play for other countries.

The United States Men’s National Team has some pretty strict requirements as to how a player would be able to join the team. In order to play for the US team, players have to be US citizens and the process of legal immigration and naturalization in the US is not easy. Ever wonder why the United States Men’s Team is so “American?” The United States has overly restrictive and limited avenues for obtaining legal immigration status in the US. Green cards are only distributed to foreigners who have family members already legally present in the US, political refugees, foreign workers with certain job skills and education-levels that can find an employer to sponsor their visa, and the lucky winners of the annual Diversity “lottery” Visa program which makes green cards available only to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the US. All of these legal avenues are subject to stringent restrictions that cap visas, irrespective of the supply or demand for workers.

What is never fully realized, the United States is supposed to be the melting pot of all nationalities, with people from all over the world bringing their love of the sport to our shores, there will be players with multiple national team options. The US has lost the ability to host great players like Neven Subotic the standout center-back from Serbia who plays in the German Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund. Or the talented forward Giuseppe Rossi, an American born Italian footballer who plays for Fiorentina and the Italian National Team and Edgar Castillo, who had the distinction of having played for two national football teams, first for Mexico (2007 to 2008), and then for the United States of which he debuted for on November 18, 2009. He signed with Club Tijuana prior to the 2012 season. It should be noted that Castillo was also born in the US.

Now it seems that with the strict immigration laws in Arizona, there is a very real possibility of the state losing the ability to possibly host a World Cup. The Arizona law, which grants law enforcement officials unprecedented power to detain individuals suspected of being in the country illegally, will be amended between now and when the U.S. would finalize plans to stage the World Cup. A FIFA executive board of 24 members will vote in December to assign both the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. England is considered the favorite for 2018, while the U.S. is reasonably hopeful for 2022, although Australia's bid is considered a threat. Other bidders are Russia, Belgium/Netherlands, Portugal/Spain, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar. The U.S. hopes to sway FIFA with the promise of $1 billion in projected revenues from five million tickets that are certain to be sold.

Money certainly speaks volumes in many instances.


DSG

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