Best-selling children’s author Mem Fox 'sobbed like a baby' as she was detained by US border control

'I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence' says the 70-year-old writer

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Saturday 25 February 2017 14:36
Mem Fox said she was insulted by US border guards
Mem Fox said she was insulted by US border guards

A best selling children’s author said she "sobbed like a baby" after she was detained and "insulted" by US border control officials in Los Angeles.

Mem Fox said she was subjected to aggressive questioning over her visa for two hours in front of a room full of people after she was stopped en route to a conference in Milwaukee.

The Australian author who is best known for her best-selling books Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Possum Magic, added she had travelled to the US 116 times before without incident.

The 70-year-old was eventually granted access but said she was shocked by her treatment and "couldn't imagine" returning to the US after her ordeal.

“I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“I felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby, and I’m 70 years old.”

The author accused Donald Trump of giving border police “turbocharged power” after taking office.

She filed an official complaint over her treatment with the Australian embassy and received an email of apology from US officials.

It came as the son of boxing legend Muhammad Ali was reportedly detained by immigration staff at a Florida airport, who repeatedly asked him "Are you Muslim?".

His lawyer Chris Mancini said officials questioned Mr Ali for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?" despite him being born in Philadelphia and holding a US passport.

Mr Trump is reportedly set to introduce a new travel ban next week. The new executive order will replace the directive that suspended access to the US to citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries which was overturned by the courts.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has called the revised order a "more streamlined version" of the original travel ban, which sparked mass protests calling it Islamaphobic and racist.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in