Tourist Strip Searched And Held In US Prison Because Of Little Known Travel Rule
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An Australian traveller found himself strip-searched and detained alongside criminals in Hawaii over a little-known entry requirement for his trip.
The 23-year-old Victorian student Jack Dunn had planned a journey to the United States before heading off to Mexico and South America after saving for a trip of a lifetime.
According to The Guardian, Dunn had applied for a visa waiver for his trip to the United States and was aware that he would need to prove his plan to exit the United States, however, there was an extra requirement that many travellers may not have been aware of.
Under the Visa Waiver Program, applicants must have a trip planned out of the United States to any foreign port or place as long as the destination wasn’t adjacent to the country.
That detail had Jack in trouble when he landed at Honolulu International Airport, as the only outgoing ticket he had was the one to Mexico, a country bordering the US.
He was taken and questioned by border security, and things went from bad to worse.
Jack had no Wi-FI service, so wasn’t able to book an outgoing flight then and there, and even when an airline worker offered him to use his phone he couldn't purchase a cheaper flight as he hadn’t transferred enough money into said account.
No internet access meant no money.
Though Jack had plans to leave the US, the fact his next country bordered the US meant it wasn't sufficient for the CBP officers and, he was denied entry to the country.
This particular entry requirement is not listed on the US embassy’s website or the US government website.
Border control officers handcuffed Jack and took him to a Federal Detention Centre where he was stripped naked and had his anus and the area under his scrotum searched twice.
He claims he was issued an orange prison uniform and placed in a cell with a prisoner who had smeared blood and faeces on the wall.
Authorities told his parent he was safe but would not divulge any further details about what was going on.
On his experience, Jack said: “Once the police dropped me off, you’re in a prison, so the guards and inmates there have no idea what you’re there for, they just assume this kid has done something bad. They treat you like a criminal, they treat you like s**t.”
Jack spent 30 hours in the detention centre before he was sent back to the airport and put on a flight to Sydney.
His family have filed a complaint about the Border Patrol officers and Jack’s treatment.
Jack is adamant the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade should list the entry requirement on their website.