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International Athletes Can Travel To U.S. For Sporting Events, Trump Admin Says

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf signed an order last week, stating that it is “in the national interest” to allow some athletes to enter the country for certain sporting events.

Getty Images/Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers

The Trump administration is exempting certain professional athletes from coronavirus-related restrictions in the U.S. so they can travel to compete in games. 

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf signed an order last week allowing certain international professional athletes, as well as their essential staff and dependents, to enter the U.S. to train and compete in games. 

“Professional sporting events provide much needed economic benefits, but equally important, they provide community pride and national unity,” Wolf said in a statement. “In today’s environment, Americans need their sports. It’s time to reopen the economy and it’s time we get our professional athletes back to work.”

The order, which was signed on May 22, states that it is “in the national interest” to allow some athletes to enter the country for certain sporting events. 

Sports leagues eligible for the exemption include Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the National Hockey League, the Association of Tennis Professionals, and the Women's Tennis Association.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection can still inspect the athletes who are traveling to the country, per the order. Wolf can also add or remove individuals from exemption based on “assessments of national interest.”

Some league practice facilities in states including New York and Utah have reopened as coronavirus-related restrictions around the country are lifted. However, some observers, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, have suspected that sporting events won’t look like they once did for a while.

During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last month, Cuban predicted that, whenever NBA games begin again, they will most likely be “made for TV events” without fans in arenas.