CNN reported on June 24 that U.S. immigration authorities had denied a visa to George Alan O’Dowd, better known to some as Boy George of "Culture Club" fame. O’Dowd, 48, had been scheduled to perform a series of concerts in the U.S. and Canada during July and August, but the visa denial could make that impossible.
According to the report, the government denied the visa because the singer faces a trial in London in November, based on false-imprisonment charges filed by a 28-year-old Norwegian man. (You don’t really want to know the details.) While O’Dowd (who CNN insisted on referring to as "George," but maybe it knows him personally) has had legal problems in the U.S. as well, his management claimed that the denial had nothing to do with those past issues.
Under Section 212 and Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, being convicted of certain crimes can render an alien ineligible for a temporary visa. "Imprisoning young Norwegian men" is not specifically listed, but it shouldn’t matter because O’Dowd has not been convicted of that yet. There is another provision that excludes anyone that "the Attorney General knows" has been involved in drug trafficking, and that might well be the issue here, depending on what the Attorney General knows about Boy George.
Also, it appears that we don’t let terrorists in.
Now, I’m not really a George Alan O’Dowd fan, but is it really that important to keep the guy out of the United States? I note that even aliens who are visiting from countries that are designated as state sponsors of terrorism, and so are clearly terrorists themselves, can get a visa if the government determines that "such alien does not pose a threat to the safety or national security of the United States." Is Boy George a bigger danger than that? And, isn’t this religious discrimination against the Church of the Poison Mind?
UPDATE: as of June 30, it appears that the U.S. government has refused to reconsider its decision, and that Boy George’s U.S. tour has officially been cancelled. The singer’s website provides this link to a video of the State Department’s daily briefing for June 25, in which the visa denial is discussed. The relevant part is about 2:30 into the video, right after all the nonsense about how much we like the Iranian people.