Australia's most prominent female Muslim activist was denied entry and deported upon arrival in the United States this week.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied traveled to the U.S. on Wednesday with plans to speak at the PEN World Voices Festival in New York next week, the New York Times reported. However, after landing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the author was detained by border agents.
"I’m currently at the border and they’ve said I’m being deported," the Australian-Sudanese award-winning author, who is highly critical of her own country's immigration policies, tweeted out to her followers.
"This should be fun. What are my rights?"
Abdel-Magied kept the public up-to-date on the ordeal via Twitter
The decision was made within minutes ...
Her passport was not returned until she arrived in a foreign country
A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Abdel-Magied was turned away because she did not have the appropriate visa.
“During the inspection, CBP officers determined this individual did not possess the appropriate visa to receive monetary compensation for the speaking engagements she had planned during her visit to the United States," a spokesperson said, according to The Guardian.
“As such, she was deemed inadmissible to enter the United States for her visit, but was allowed to withdraw her application for admission. The traveller is eligible to reapply for a visa for future visits.”
Was Abdel-Magied targeted because of her identity?
According to Abdel-Magied, she was attempting to enter the country with a B1/B2 visa. That document allows foreign nationals to visit the United States to attend a “scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference,” according to the State Department website.
However, it does not allow paid performances or “any professional performance before a paying audience.”
Abdel-Magied reportedly previously entered the U.S. to speak at similar events with the same visa status.
An immigration lawyer, Matthew Covey, explained to BuzzFeed News that the decision to deport Abdel-Magied was perfectly legal. However, he said that this rule has been "largely unenforced historically."
Covey also said it's worth noting that the custom's officer was quick to stop a brown Muslim woman and activist.
"Was it more likely she got singled out because of who she was? Possibly," the immigration lawyer said. He explained that white European writers have long entered the U.S. on the same visa to give speeches.
Many supporters criticized the CBP's decision on social media
Why would they target her?
Many pointed out the irony of her deportation
Friends launched a hashtag in support
In just the first 100 days of Trump's presidency, Islamophobic incidents at U.S. borders rose by 1,035 percent, according to an April 2017 report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR.)
Even prominent Muslim Americans, including the son of boxing heavyweight champion and activist, Muhammad Ali, and medal-winning Olympic fencer, Ibtihaj Muhammad, have been detained by U.S. border agents for questioning.