|WELCOME TO AMERICA !
||[Jun. 17th, 2008|07:37 pm]
From the Channel 7 news tonight ...
Australian woman held in US detention camp
Tuesday June 17, 06:01 PM
An Australian woman has told how her trip to the United States became holiday hell when a visa mix-up landed her in a detention camp.
Laura McKenzie spent weeks in legal limbo before being freed, and can't come home until she's faced an American court.
She started in the Canadian snowfields before crossing the border for what was meant to be a six week tour of the United States.
But her holiday ended on a bus trip in Texas when she was arrested by an immigration officer for overstaying her tourist visa.
She spent three weeks in custody, was moved from one cell to another, without being allowed to call home, before ending up in a detention centre on the US-Mexico border.
Laura's mistake was a technical one. Her six-month US visa officially started when she touched down in Hawaii on her way to Canada, and unknown to her, by the time she returned to America, her visa was just days away from expiring. But immigration still let her in.
Laura's mother Anne flew to America to fight to free her daughter. So far, it has cost the family $15,000.
Laura is now out on bail, accused of being in America illegally.
She is not allowed to leave until a court hearing in a month
Tourists avoid the United States of America. You stand a very good chance of being refused entry or arrested and detained. At least she wasn't incacerated in that place in Cuba.
From experience Hawaii is the first clearance point for American immigration as the aircraft touch down there on the way to North America. Once you have set foot on American soil - be it Hawaii rather than the mainland - you have officially entered the United States and they start counting from that very moment...