The following is a post I wrote today for the UniSG blog. Trump America’s ban on immigration has already begun to affect the Italian wine trade in the U.S. It’s one of the topics that I’ll be covering in coming weeks and months as the new administration’s immigration and trade policies began to take shape. Thanks for reading.
Above: A section of the wall that separates the United States and Mexico along the Tijuana-San Diego border where I grew up (photo, “Art on the Tijuana Wall,” via Jonathan McIntosh’s Flickr Creative Commons).
Like many Americans today, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around President Trump’s new ban on immigration from seven “majority-Muslim” countries (in case you are not familiar with Executive Order 13769, check out the Wikipedia entry here; I’ll refrain from sharing my own thoughts and feelings on the ban).
Even in the short time that it has been in effect, the impact on the Italian wine trade in the U.S. has been worrisome.
The biggest issue is that there are many foreign-born individuals who work in the Italian wine business in America and many of them come from countries included in the ban.
In one case, a wine director and leading italo-centric sommelier I know has cancelled his plans to attend Vinitaly — the annual Italian wine trade fair held in Verona. He was born in one of the seven countries included in the President’s list. He has a green card and is here legally. And technically, he should be able to re-enter the country (initially, green-card holders were to be denied re-entry but the administration back-pedaled back on that point). Not only is he afraid that things could change unexpectedly and that his status could be threatened without notice (no one had any idea that President Trump was planning such a severe ban so soon in his presidency), but he is also fearful of the scrutiny to which he might be subjected: There are widespread reports that immigration officers are scanning social media posts by migrants entering the U.S…