Infamous English Defence League (EDL) founder, Tommy Robinson, has failed to get a US visa following a US Congress invite to meet with Republican lawmakers. As recently reported by Workpermit.com, Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – was rumoured to net a possible £1 million for his visit to the USA.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:
The Tommy Robinson proposed trip to the US Congress made big news around the World. There have been concerns that this would enable a far right extremist to raise substantial funds. It looks as if the trip will not be going ahead for the time being. The US B1/B2 visit visa has either been refused or delayed. It is perhaps worrying that Robinson has received support from people such as President Donald Trump and his former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon. Robinson was a member of the Neo-Fascist BNP that included numerous anti-semites and holocaust deniers amongst its ranks.
The frontman for far-right organisations, including the Islamophobic English Defence League had been invited to a behind closed doors event, hosted by the Middle East Forum (MEF), an extremist US-based thinktank, which has helped to fund Robinson’s highly publicised protests in the UK.
Robinson was invited for a two-day trip to Washington D.C., alongside representatives of the extremist right-wing, David Horowitz Freedom Center. If Robinson had been granted entry to the US, he was expected to speak to delegates at the Conservative Opportunity Society at the invitation of Republican representative, Paul Gosar and six other members of Congress.
The behind closed doors event, focusing on Islam, was due to have taken place on November 14. Robinson was also expected to speak at a ticketed public engagement organised by the conservative, Philadelphia-based MEF.
MEF director claims he is “pretty sure” of Robinson US visa approval
Gregg Roman, the MEF’s director, had told the UK’s Independent newspaper that he was “pretty sure” Robinson’s US visa application would be approved.
Robinson’s supporters were also confident that an invite from US Congress members would work in favour of his visa application, despite currently being on police bail in the UK pending a potential rehearing over alleged contempt of court offences committed at Leeds Crown Court in May, 2018.
35-year-old Robinson was convicted and sentenced to 13 months for contempt of court offences. However, he was freed in August 2018 following an appeal, and a judge has since referred the case to the attorney general.
Nevertheless, the EDL founder’s US visit was scuppered when he failed to secure a US visa.
MEF president, Daniel Pipes said: “The British activist recently applied for a visa at the US Embassy in London, but now realizes it will take a while for him to be allowed into the country.”
Robinson’s notorious past cast doubt on Roman’s claims that the EDL founder would be granted a B1/B2 visit visa. Previous criminal convictions for violence, drug possession and public order offences have prevented Robinson from entering the US on previous occasions.
As well as prior convictions for violence, drug possession and public order offences, Robinson has also spent time behind bars for using a friend’s passport, illegally, in 2012 to travel to New York. Since serving that sentence, he has spent further time in prison for mortgage fraud and contempt of court.
British lawmakers write to US Secretary of State to ask him to deny US visa
It’s understood that 55 British MPs from the Conservative and Labour parties wrote to the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, urging him to ban Robinson from visiting the United States. The MPs expressed concerns over granting the right-wing activist a US visa, fearing that he would use his US visit as a fundraising opportunity.
When asked why Robinson failed to get a US visa, a State Department spokesperson said: “US law prohibits the agency from discussing individual visa cases.”
Meanwhile, Pipes said that the MEF was “still optimistic” that Mr Robinson would be granted US entry at a later date.
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