There have been reports that Chicago lost the bid for the Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro because of the US immigration policy.
Is the U.S. losing some of its place as a destination for foreign tourists? Syed Shahid Ali, a member of the International Olympic Committee from Pakistan, raised the issue ahead of the IOC picking Rio to host the 2016 Summer Games over Madrid, Tokyo and last-place finisher Chicago.
Coming into the U.S. can be “a rather harrowing experience” for foreigners, he noted, wondering whether it would be a problem if Chicago were to get the games, The New York Times reported.
“One of the legacies I want to see is a reminder that America at its best is open to the world,” President Obama responded, adding that the White House and the State Department would make it more convenient for visitors from abroad.
Advocates for immigration reform were quick to take note of the IOC member’s inquiry.
“The Olympics - Yet Another Victim of America’s Broken Immigration System,” was the headline on a statement issued by the Immigration Policy Center. “This recent disappointment proves that immigration reform is not just a pressing domestic issue, but an international one as well. The President may say the U.S. is open for business, but our nation’s actions have proved quite the opposite.”