Over the weekend, a band you never heard of was detained for trying to enter this country without a full understanding of VISA requirements. Now, they’re hoping your anti-Trump sentiment will get you to buy their music and merchandise down the road. It’s a smart strategy by the band.
Soviet Soviet is a “post punk band” (that doesn’t really mean anything) that traveled to the US from Italy for a series of concerts, including one locally at KEXP, to help launch their career here. But they didn’t have the proper paperwork to travel here. You see, they traveled here under the ESTA program, which isn’t allowed in their situation: some of the shows they were playing listed a cover charge. They needed, apparently, either a P-1A or P-1B visa, given their status as an entertainment group, or O and P visas.
Consequently, the band was denied entry to the US by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and placed in overnight detention until they could be placed on a flight back home. And boy is Soviet Soviet milking this for all it’s worth.
On their Facebook page, they explained they “…were relieved to fly back home and distance ourselves from that violent, stressful and humiliating situation.” They continued, hoping to cash in on some of that fresh anti-Trump travel ban sentiment and complained that they “…became three illegal immigrants and were treated like criminals.”
Actually, it appears they were treated like travelers who didn’t do enough research before hopping on a plane to perform concerts in the US. There was no violence (they were placed in handcuffs while in transport to the detention facility, which is standard procedure). I have no doubt that they were stressed and humiliated by their error.
And there’s no evidence any Trump-era immigration policy played a role here, even if their new “fans” (most of whom never listened to their music but will stand in solidarity with them as an anti-Trump statement) claim otherwise.
“So sorry, and so embarrassed to live in the city that did this to you,” Sherry Howland wrote on Facebook. “We are ALL Trumpland now, I guess[.]” Maybe she’ll leave Seattle for a city that doesn’t enforce basic visa requirements?
“Do you think it’s the band name?” wondered Paul Kennedy. “Some low-IQ border control bully who once heard the word Soviet in a Chuck Norris movie. Making America great again, one retarded decision at a time.” Someone should alert this Social Justice Warrior the offense of the word he so casually utters online.