The recent detention of two foreign authors, Henry Rousso and Mem Fox, as a result of efforts to increase security at the United States border is raising alarm in the literary community. Accordingly, the Authors Guild will redouble its efforts to provide visa assistance to foreign authors coming to the U.S. for reasons related to their writing, as well as to educate authors regarding their rights at border checkpoints.
Guild lawyers have begun vetting a list of attorneys and nonprofits who can provide free or low-cost legal services, and will try to assist authors in finding a low-cost or pro bono attorney to help them. And the Guild will, of course, continue its services of writing consultations letters for authors seeking 0-1 visas to enter the U.S. for speaking engagements, book tours, research, or visiting professor positions.
In the meantime, if you know a foreign author who will be traveling to the U.S., advise them to be prepared in advance. Have them reach out to the Authors Guild staff at firstname.lastname@example.org, or advise them to consult the following resources prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union:
- ACLU’s TSA Complaint Form
- ACLU’s “Know Your Rights” pamphlet including a list of referral organizations
Additionally, the Authors Guild is authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to provide consultation letters for writers seeking 0-1 Visas to continue their work in the United States, and our legal department regularly provides them.
As always, our doors are open to all authors in need of assistance.