New York City, July 27, 2010—A prominent Colombian journalist who was once barred from the United States has been granted a visa to come to this country to study. PEN American Center, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month expressing alarm over reports that Hollman Morris had been denied a visa to travel to the U.S. Morris was one of 12 international journalists selected to participate in the Nieman fellowship at Harvard University during the 2010-11 academic year. However, when he applied for a visa in order to attend the program he was told by the U.S. Embassy in Bogota that he had been found permanently ineligible for a visa under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The reversal of that decision means Morris will likely be able to come to the U.S. to participate in the program.

The following can be attributed to Larry Siems, director of the Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center:

“We’re extremely relieved that Hollman Morris will be able to join Nieman Fellows program this fall. We’ve generally been pleased by the administration’s actions to end the practice of excluding international scholars and writers on ideological grounds, and so we were surprised and alarmed that Mr. Morris was denied a visa when he applied this summer. We’re grateful to the State Department for moving quickly to correct the situation.”

PEN American Center is the largest of the 145 centers of International PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. The Freedom to Write Program of PEN American Center works to protect the freedom of the written word wherever it is imperiled. It defends writers and journalists from all over the world who are imprisoned, threatened, persecuted, or attacked in the course of carrying out their profession. For more information on PEN’s work, please visit www.pen.org
 

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• July 13, 2010: Letter to Secretary of State Clinton on Colombian Journalist’s Exclusion from U.S.
 

Sarah Hoffman, (212) 334-1660 ext. 111, sarah@pen.org
Larry Siems, (646) 359-0594, lsiems@pen.org