Italian band Soviet Soviet have been arrested and deported from the U.S. for alleged illegal immigration.
Alessandro Costantini, Alessandro Ferri and Andrea Giometti were due to play a series of shows at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and were scheduled to perform a gig for Seattle’s KEXP radio station, but have now left the country.
They landed in Seattle on Wednesday (08Mar17) but were denied entry by customs officials after being interrogated for four hours. In a post on their Facebook page on Friday (10Mar17), the band said they were not able to contact their families or record label during the ordeal.
They were jailed overnight and flown home to Italy on Thursday (09Mar17).
The indie rockers said their phones and bags were confiscated, and despite customs officials speaking to the head of their U.S. record label, it was still decided they were trying to enter the country illegally.
"We left Italy headed towards the US with all necessary documents, passports and various declarations in which we clearly explained the purpose of our tour, confirming it is was strictly promotional and that we were in no way going to earn money from it or receive any form of payment,” the band posted on Facebook.
"We knew that if we were to receive any compensation we would have had to apply for work visas. This was not the case and the people we spoke to for information told us we would be fine. The point is that the control agents who did a quick check on the concerts we informed them of noticed that two of the venues were asking for entry fees and this was enough to convince them that we needed work visas instead of an ESTA," they concluded.