Australian DJ & video remix artist Pogo banned from the US

EDW Lynch from Laughing Squid reports: "While on an American tour last year, Australian DJ and video remix artist Nick Bertke (Pogo) ran afoul of US visa rules and was jailed and deported from the country. He is now subject to a 10 year ban from the United States. His fans are now petitioning the White House to get Bertke’s ban lifted so he can return to the US. We’ve posted Bertke’s work many times over the years."



  1. So…he violated US immigration laws by working illegally and we should feel bad for him because why?

    1. because we’re decent folk who can sympathize with others who are experiencing difficulties?

      we can show compassion even for those at fault?

      because we’ve all made mistakes, sometimes even big mistakes, in our youth?

      idunno, got me.

      1. If he were a student, or visiting artist, or a tourist, or someone who was not in the country to work and this happened, then yes, I would absolutely feel bad for him.

        On the other hand, he came to the country to work, and get paid for that work.  And he did it without consulting the laws around that.  There’s a big difference between “I’m talking at a conference,” and “I’m showing up to make money.”  He’s a big boy, and should accept the fact that he did in fact break the law, and has to deal with those consequences.

          1. No, I’m not suggesting it isn’t overkill – in fact, I said nothing about the duration of the sentence – but what I am saying is that dude has to abide by the laws of the country he is going to.  And that includes having to get a work visa to, you know, work.

          1. That would be considered working.  He’s exchanging labour for money, so he’d need a work visa.

          2. You don’t have to hate him quite so ferociously.  It’s not like he’s Mexican or something.

          3. @boingboing-e2c5182d1b95fa116e841650b6b426cc:disqus , no, he’s not, and he’s also pretty famous, which makes it WAY easier for him to enter and work in the US legally than for the stereotypical Mexican immigrant. So he gets less sympathy for breaking the rules.

      2. Ignorance is no defense, when it comes to parking fines, speeding fines or visa penalties. A smart international traveler checks that something has been done, they don’t assume. 

          1. Sure, 10 years sucks, but a professional performer needs to either make sure things are done, or arrange for/pay someone to do that. I didn’t hear anything in the video about him actually asking someone else to make sure things were handled, he just assumed they were. This is an emotional plea, not an intellectual one, and I resent it. I’m an Australian, I’ve traveled to the USA a number of times for study and travel and making sure I’ve got the right paperwork isn’t that hard, especially when you know other people who travel back and forth for work, study, travel, just like he does. 

        1. As to the question of why we should feel bad for him, I suggested the possibility that “we can show compassion even for those at fault,” but offered no defense,and am making no excuses, for his failing to have obtained the proper visa. He messed up, but we can still feel bad for him. 10 year ban = sucks.

    2. From what I read about this last night, he assumed that the agency taking care of his tour had taken care of the work visa situation (as is common in such cases, I believe, and as had been done for him in the past.)

      And then, when he was arrested and it was revealed that his visa situation was problematic, the agency cut all ties with him and let him deal with this by himself.

      Under those circumstances, I believe there’s enough of a grey area to warrant reviewing the situation, and not just applying laws and regulations dogmatically without using any common sense.

      1. If that’s the case, then sure, I would absolutely agree that a review was in order.  If it can be proven that his agency said that they were taking care of his immigration information, then rescind the deportation order and ban, and clear his record.

      2. I would assume that if his agency had sorted out his visa, he would have had to have a work visa stamped into his passport, he would have had to be involved in that process in some point of time.

        I’m sure he’s a super smart guy and it should have occurred to him that a I-94 visa waiver (to which he has had many times before) is _not_ the same as a US work visa.

        Yes, 10 years is rough, but them the rules at this point in time (rightly or wrongly).

      3. His beef is with his agency, then, not with the US government- why should they trust him on this?

        I hate the difficulty of getting into the US (I need a proper visa, not just a waiver) and working there, they make you feel like dirt and you have to jump through hoops (much less hoops, I’m sure, if you’re an internationally acclaimed artist like Pogo and not a mere mortal like me), but I still don’t see how it’s the problem of US customs that this guy’s agency screwed up. They have better things to do…

      4.  At some point, he signed the forms indicating what he was applying for and what he could or could not do while in-country.  Those forms were signed under penalty of perjury etc.

        Just like your tax forms, a third party might help you but *you* are the one signing them, no one else.

        A ten year ban is the standard punishment for something like this here as I understand it and most countries follow similar practices, including Australia. (Heck, just try even buying a house in Australia if you’re a foreigner…good luck)

        Play by the rules in someone else’s country or stay home.

        1. Play by the rules in someone else’s country or stay home.

          You seem far more interested in The Rules than in human beings. That’s sad.

    3.  Because it wasn’t entirely his mistake either. He’s explained in great detail how he had left a lot of the visa work to his agency or touring management group and they didn’t clearly work through the issues with him. I had read about it when it first happened and am reading about it now – it genuinely seems like people just didn’t have the right information and he paid too high a price.

      1. It genuinely seems like people didn’t bother to get the right information. Any US embassy will explain the rules to you, if you can’t understand the ‘work visa’ section on their website.

    4. Because jail time and a decade ban is a ridiculous and draconian punishment for a nonviolent crime. 

  2. Ha! He’s got himself tangled in knots and he still doesn’t realize that his mistake was not hiring a lawyer and professional tour manager. Petitions aren’t going to help. Hire a lawyer for crying out loud!

    1.  He’s contacted dozens, but they all don’t want to take on the case. He’s trying to escalate this

  3. It’s good that he seems to be handling this like an adult. Sadly, if he was coming to work in the US, he should have gotten a work visa. I think that is pretty straightforward. I do hope he manages to straighten it out quicker than 10 years. Pogo is fantastic music.

  4. I like some of this guys work, but lost any respect for him when I saw his original Youtube screen name was ‘faggotron’. 

  5. HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING! Just travel to mexico OR canada and cross the border, there are many law abiding businessmen that can assist you with this work whink whink, once you are in, you will create a new identity and learn a southern accent, if you are confronted by a federal officer, USE the 4th ammendment in the constitution because you have the right to remain silent, so you dont even have to answer migratory questions: are you a US citizen? -AM I FREE TO GO? -are you a US citizen? -AM I BEING DETAINED? -are you a US citizen? -AM I FREE TO GO? -yes! go! have a nice day

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