In what’s proving to be a microcosm of the U.S. government’s tough new immigration policy, three more international bands have had their visas revoked at the U.S. border and will not be performing at SXSW.
Heavy rockers Massive Scar Era, based in Vancouver, B.C., and Cairo, Egypt, were denied entry into the U.S. from the U.S.-Canada border near Seattle because they were carrying B-1, or tourist visas, rather than P-2 visas, which allow performers to enter the country. With tourist visa in hand, along with a “showcase exception” letter from SXSW, the band told immigration officials that they would be performing, but not receiving any pay. In theory, holders of these tourist visas are allowed to solicit future business while in the U.S. but immigration officials were not buying it.
Drummer Yussef Dayes, a member of two U.K. bands scheduled for SXSW showcases—Yussef Kamall and United Vibrations—also had his visa revoked “at the 11th hour,” according to an NPR report. A statement from Brownswood Recordings noted that his brothers Ahmed and Kareem (both members of United Vibrations) also have had their visa status revoked.
"We are sad to announce we will NOT be performing at SXSW in Texas because our ESTA's have been revoked under the new executive order. We were looking forward to connecting with our brothers and sisters stateside to share our music. Why weren't we let in? Our Names? The music? The color of our skin?," the statement read.
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