The annual African Global Economic and Development (AGED) Summit, held every year in the United States, is used to some visa troubles. “Usually we get 40 percent [of visas] that get rejected, but the others come,” said Mary Flowers, chair of the AGED Summit. “This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation.”
Only three African countries–Libya, Somalia, and Sudan–are officially included in Trump’s travel ban, which is currently stayed by order of a Hawaiian federal court. However, the attendees who were denied visas came from all over the continent, including Ethiopia, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and South Africa.
Flowers estimated that around 100 would-be attendees were affected. “It was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened,” she said. “I have to say that most of us feel it’s a discrimination issue with the African nations. We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent.”
As more and more of these disheartening, event-crippling visa denials keep happening, the U.S. will not only look monstrous on the international stage, but it will lose its outsized influence in trade, medicine, technology and the humanities. No international organization can, in good conscience, schedule its conferences in a country where many of that organization’s members won’t be able to attend.