Acclaimed cellist Yo-yo Ma has testified at a reform committee in Washington DC on Tuesday (04APR06), claiming America's strict immigration policy has harmful effects on international recording artists. The Chinese-American musician, who was born in France, took the stand in front of the House of Representatives' Government Reform Committee and spoke out against delays in processing visas. The artistic director of the Silk Road Project - which brings together the talents of international artists - said, "I'm 50 years old. I've played the cello for 46 years. Of the last 30 years of being a professional musician, I've spent the equivalent of 20 on the road. "Music and travel are constants for me. In my mind, they stem from the same fundamentally human sources: an eagerness to explore new territory and a passion for learning. "The barriers to bringing these musicians, these cultural guides, to the US have become extraordinarily high. We have found it increasingly difficult to facilitate this cultural exchange, because of high financial costs, uncertain timelines, and countless logistical hurdles."
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