Lacrosse fans are wondering if the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team will get to fly out of NYC today for the World Lacrosse Championships? The team has a scheduled flight for 4pm Eastern time. But the members don’t have the proper documentation to leave the US.
The holdup is coming from new passport security measures. Matt Chandler, spokesman for the US State department, says his department is working to resolve the matter. "We are trying to help them get the appropriate travel documents so that they can travel to this tournament," he said.
But Dr. Percy Abrams, executive director of the Iroquois Nationals, said US passports wouldn't even be accepted at the competition where they have to produce a passport originating from the country they are representing -- the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. "I think it should have been explained well ahead of time or someone should have been advised that travel requirements had changed," Abrams said.
The last time the team travelled outside the country was in 2002, when the championship was held in Australia. The passports didn't pose a problem since that was before travel requirements changed.
If the matter doesn't get resolved, the team is may not make it to this year's championship. Nationals General Manager Ansley Jemison said that would be a "worst case scenario for the game of lacrosse." "These guys are also heroes to a lot of the young children that we have in our communities, and I think that would be a very negative message for the U.S. government to send to our people," Jemison said.