MALDEF

Australian Family Detained and Deported

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
An Australian family on a mercy dash to a dying relative in the United States were detained without food or water before being sent to a detention centre and forced to spend the night with criminal suspects. Their ordeal finished with them being deported.

[…]

Despite being Australian citizens and having valid visas to enter the US, the family members claim they were singled out because of their cultural background, having immigrated from Bangladesh four years ago.

"They treated us like terrorists," Mr. Rabbi said. "We are Australian citizens. Why did they have to keep us in a detention centre? Why did they have to lock up my kids?"
The family had $6400 return tickets dated February 5. Nonetheless the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped, questioned, and searched Fazle and Rokeya Rabbi and their luggage, before sending them and their two sons to a detention center. Giving them a couple of hours of sleep and some cookies as their only sustenance, the family was quickly put on a flight back to Sydney. CBP’s explanation:
A spokeswoman for the US consulate-general in Sydney said US Customs and Border Protection authorities reserved the right to refuse entry to the US.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund