N.Y. gallery owner denied U.S. entry, expects to miss new show

By Allen Cone  |  March 1, 2017 at 10:57 PM
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March 1 (UPI) -- A New York City-based art gallery owner expects to miss the opening of a new show Thursday because he was denied entry into the United States from Argentina.

Juan Garcia Mosqueda, founder and owner of Chamber gallery in New York City, wrote in a letter posted on Instagram he was detained Friday at John F. Kennedy International Airport upon returning from Argentina and escorted by security officials for a return flight to Buenos Aires.

Mosqueda said he was detained for 14 hours and had no access to legal counsel. In all, he said the "nightmare" lasted 36 hours, including the round-trip flight.

"During the following fourteen excruciatingly painful hours, I was prohibited from the use of any means of communication and had no access to any of my belongings, which were ferociously examined without any warrant whatsoever," Mosqueda wrote in his letter posted Tuesday. "I was deprived of food. I was frisked three times in order to go to the bathroom, where I had no privacy and was under the constant surveillance of an officer."

Mosqueda, who was born in Argentina, was educated in the United States. He has lived in the country for 10 years and opened the gallery in New York City in 2014.

"Although I am not an American citizen, Chamber is an American product that I hope adds to the cultural landscape of the country," Mosqueda wrote in his letter. "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."

The new show is entitled Domestic Appeal.

"My reason for sharing my experience was to bring to light the situation currently facing immigrants from around the world and to encourage my American friends to contact your local congressmen and push for immigration reform," he said Wednesday in a statement obtained by CNN.

He said in the statement he is in the process of "dealing with my re-entry into the United States."

CNN attempted to contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for comment, but hasn't heard back.

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