NEW YORK (AP) — Members of an Iroquois lacrosse team who refuse to travel on U.S. passports were barred from getting on a flight Tuesday to the sport’s world championship tournament.
The 23 members of the New York-based squad arrived at a Delta terminal at Kennedy International Airport wearing team jackets and shirts. Their manager, Ansley Jemison, didn’t expect to be allowed to board their flight to Amsterdam and wasn’t surprised to be turned away at the check-in desk.
U.S. officials previously informed the team that new security rules for international travelers meant that their old passports — low-tech, partly handwritten documents issued by a tribal authority — wouldn’t be honored.
But by showing up, the team avoided forfeiting its tickets. Airline officials said they would allow the squad to rebook its flight for Wednesday without penalty if it secured the proper documents, according to Jemison. Team officials remained hopeful that a last-minute diplomatic intervention would allow them to attend the World Lacrosse Championship, which is taking place in England.
Jemison said he was confident tribal leaders could work out an arrangement with the U.S. State Department, get the necessary visas from the United Kingdom and make it in time for their first game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Manchester.