Art Forum –FEBRUARY 28, 2017
Juan Garcia Mosqueda, an Argentinian curator who has been a legal US resident for the past decade and who runs Chamber NYC, an architecture and design studio on West Twenty-Third Street in Manhattan, was denied entry into the United States last Friday after a trip to Buenos Aires. In a public letter, Mosqueda called the experience “dehumanizing and degrading.” A border patrol officer denied him legal counsel, claiming that “lawyers had no jurisdiction at the borders.” Mosqueda was interrogated under oath and threatened with a five-year expulsion from the US if he did not answer his questions honestly. After his statement was given to the officer in charge, Mosqueda was told that he could not enter the US and would be sent back to Buenos Aires. He was detained for fourteen hours before his trip back. During this time he was not permitted to contact anyone or access any of his belongings. He was eventually escorted to a plane by two armed officers and was told he would not receive any of his documents until he got back to Buenos Aires.
“Although I am not an American citizen, Chamber is an American product that I hope adds to the cultural landscape of the country,” said Mosqueda. “The gallery was conceived in alignment with the same idea of inclusion that was found in the streets of the Lower East Side (where I live and was denied access to) not so long ago: a melting pot of all nationalities and religions, importing ideas from abroad to a culturally embracing metropolis. We have worked with over two hundred artists and designers, from Tokyo to Los Angeles, from Amsterdam to Santiago, in our less than three years of existence and rely heavily on social mobility to get our message across and display the works that we want to show.”
In his letter, Mosqueda encourages people to contact their congressmen and demand immigration reform. The letter in its entirety reads: