President Trump’s Executive Order Threatens Esports Careers
Last Friday, President Trump issued an executive order that restricts citizens of several countries from entering the United States of America.
The new immigration policy, doused in controversy, bars entry from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. Additionally, all refugee admissions are cancelled for the next four months while Syrian refugees are banned indefinitely.
Importantly, anyone holding dual citizenship with any of the seven aforementioned countries are also not permitted to enter the United States of America during the ban period.
As President Trump fulfills his campaign promises, many esports careers hang in the balance.
Arman “Phenom” Hanjani, who participated in last year’s Capcom Cup, currently lives in Norway but holds an Iranian citizenship. Taking to Twitter, the Street Fighter V player expressed great concern about being unable to enter the United States of America. While the ban lasts, there’s no hope of entering the country to take part in crucial esports events.
This season’s Capcom Pro Tour begins with Final Round 20 which will run from March 10-12. From the looks of it, Phenom won’t be able to make it and may possible lose his standing in the Capcom Cup rankings.
Hopefully this doesn't last long, otherwise my CPT season will be already done 🙁 https://t.co/oyxhNVQc2V
— Arman Hanjani (@PhenomSF) January 28, 2017
Ramin “Mr. R” Delshad is another member from the fighting game community who resides in the Netherlands but also holds an Iranian citizenship. He’s one of the top Super Smash Bros. players in the world and was recently signed by North American esports organization Elevate.
This week, he reached out to the U.S. Embassy for clarification on his chances of entering the country. The response was not encouraging. As per the recent executive order signed by President Trump, “dual nationals are included in those covered by the temporary ban on travel to the United States”.
Well…. that was fast
Emailed the U.S. department of state as well, but they'll probably respond with the same thing
— Elevate Mr.R (@Mr_RSmash) January 30, 2017
Hamza “IraqiZorro” Najim, Canadian resident but holder of an Iraqi citizenship, has also been denied entry. The co-owner of GankStars was supposed to join his team in California this month but will now be unable to do so.
President Trump is expected to reform the immigration policy and vetting process during the ban period. It might turn darker for many more esports athletes if the executive order is expanded to include other countries as well.
Star Dota 2 player and an integral cog in the Evil Geniuses machine, Syed “Suma1L” Hassan is of Pakistani decent but currently lives in Rosemont, Illinois. If President Trump should include Pakistan in the ban-list, it might spell trouble for one of the oldest North American esports organizations. The same goes for other players with dual citizenship as well.