Mexican gay men’s chorus ‘singled out’ and detained in US security checks
The Mexican Gay Men’s chorus were left shocked and upset after they were detained by US Home Security in Texas on Sunday morning.
The group were travelling to Los Angeles as they were performing in a concert with city’s own gay men’s chorus.
They group was travelling through customs at William P Hobby Airport in Houston when they were detained.
The group first started to experience issues with getting into the US when one of their group, a university professor called Jorge Gutierrez, was pulled aside to check if he was the same Jorge Gutierrez who was suspected of stealing a truck, according to the Los Angeles Times.
While he was being questioned, a security officer overheard some of the other men talking about the concert they were due to perform in. Finally, they found sheet music in some of their luggage.
They then suspected that the group might be entering the country as illegal paid performers, instead of as tourists, as their visas indicated.
A Homeland Security officer then called Jonathan Weedman, the executive director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, to find out if the group were being paid for their concert.
The security officer told Weedman that the men “weren’t being truthful or forthcoming” and that they might have to be deported.
Weedman explained the nature of the concert, and added that it would be “an international incident” if they deported the men.
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After 13 minutes on the phone, the security officer decided to let the group of 52 men through to perform in Los Angeles.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Blade, Weedman said they were “very glad” that the men had arrived safely after they were detained.
“We have had this trip planned for over a year, all had been granted US Visas and this came as a great shock.”
He went on to say that the detainment of the men did not come as a surprise, and pointed to the Trump administration’s “endless offensive comments” about Mexican people.
He also suggested that the men were “singled out” by security staff and that they were racially profiled.