February 24, 2017

Famed Australian children's author interrogated for two hours by LA immigration officials

Daily Telegraph, Australia - Australia's best-loved children’s author, Mem Fox, was left sobbing and shaken after being detained for two hours and aggressively interrogated by immigration officials at Los Angeles airport.

Fox says she’s unlikely to ever travel to the United States again after being made to feel like “a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay”.

En route to Milwaukee for a conference on February 9, where she was to deliver the opening keynote address at a literacy conference, Fox was ushered into an airport holding room and told she was traveling on the wrong visa. This was incorrect and the US Embassy in Canberra has since apologized. Fox, 70, said that by the time she checked in to her hotel she was shaking and sobbing.

“I am old and white, innocent and educated, and I speak English fluently,” she said. “Imagine what happened to the others in the room, including an old Iranian woman in her 80s, in a wheelchair.

“The way I was treated would have made any decent American shocked to the core, because that’s not America as a whole, it really isn’t. It’s just that people have been given permission to let rip in a fashion that is alarming.”

Fox has visited the US more than 100 times since 1985, and is widely known there as an author and literacy educator.


Tony Affigne said...

What the holy fuck. Seriously? We're told that Trump's inner circle fetishize chaos. If so, they're off to a good start.

Pollyanna Pete said...

This is what the border critters do, and it's been this way for a while. If you look funny, or fail the attitude test, or something dings in the computer, or just at random, they'll bring you into the little room and make you wait and tell you lies, just to see what you'll do.

Anonymous said...

Starting with Reagan's war on drugs, entry into the United States for anyone deemed to conform to some nebulous profile has been a demeaning, hostile, and upsetting experience. The outrage should have been raised thirty five years ago when this process was first introduced, but no, it was not to be. Incrementally the over-reach has expanded. Having traveled quite a bit in this lifetime, I've had the experience of entering into Eastern Germany through several check points including the infamous Check Point Charlie at the Berlin Wall and have never encountered anything as humiliating and disconcerting as transit within the land of my birth.

Anonymous said...

That is disgraceful.

I am an American citizen. For several years, I was routinely detained by American customs every time I re-entered the country. They would always do the same thing. Each time I was put in detention and each time I would be stuck there for about an hour. Then an customs officer would come and look for tattoos on my forearms and when the tattoos were not there, they would let me go after asking some questions. One time, I even saw the printout sheet of the person who they were actually after. It was person with an name from my nationality but not even close to being my own name.

After several years of this I was again detained - upon entry - by an agent who seemed like a decent guy. I told him that this had been going on for years. I asked him if it was possible to fix the computer entries so it would not happen again.

That was the last time it happened.

I am happy that they fixed it but apparently there had not be any protocol for fixing mistaken "intercepts." I wonder how many people are repeatedly going through what I went through who had been cleared many times before. In other words, how many people are going through this for no good reason at all.

Anonymous said...

To the question raised above, "how many people are going through this for no good reason at all?"
The answer is almost all of them.