The U.S. government will allow a Native American lacrosse team to fly to Manchester, England so that they can attend the Lacrosse World Championship after originally telling them their passports were no good.
The issue at hand was that the passports issued by the Iroquois Confederacy, which oversees land that stretches from upstate New York into Ontario, Canada, were considered “low-tech” by government standards under new security rules for international travelers.
U.S. officials told the 23-player team Tuesday that their partially handwritten papers would not be honored when they arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport to board a Delta Airlines flight.
The State Department later changed the rules for the players, and told them higher-security U.S. passports were not needed. According to an Associated Press report, “The team members regard U.S. government-issued documents as an attack on their identity.”
The team’s manager Ansley Jemison felt that the players would not be able to board the flight. However since she and the team showed up to check-in, they did not forfeit their tickets. Delta said it would rebook the entire team Wednesday without penalty.
The players now await British visas to attend the games, which were previously denied when the country did not have a guarantee that the players would be let back into the United States.
Commenting on the messy situation, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-NY, said “I am relieved that this bureaucratic technicality has been papered over and these young men can go and do what they have trained to do: play lacrosse and compete on the international scene.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also agreed the issue needed to be resolved.
The team was expected to depart Wednesday night in order to make it in time for the Thursday evening game; however UK denied their entry, causing the team to forfeit game one of the tournament.
The team is hoping the UK will change their mind in order to make it to game two. The Native American lacrosse team is ranked number four in the world.
Source: The Associated Press