A Pakistani-born member of an Australian State government was set and aside and questioned by US immigration officials asking how she was issued an Australian passport and where she was “originally from”.
After fingerprinting etc, we were asked how we 'got' Aussie passports & marched off to the interview room for grilling. Welcome to America.
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) January 14, 2016
Mehree Faruqi is a Greens member for the New South Wales legislative council and was detained at the Los Angeles airport in what she describes as “racial profiling”.
She said she had presented her passport and been fingerprinted by officials at the airport before being asked “how we got Australian passports”.
“We said it was because we lived there and they asked where we were originally from,” Faruqi said. “When we said Pakistan we were told that someone would be escorting us to the interview room.”
She and her husband were then taken to the interview room.
“The interview was along the same lines: why are you here, do you have a Pakistani passport, have you been to Pakistan, what do you do there,” she said.
Faruqi has been an Australian citizen for over 22 years.
“To be asked how I got an Australian passport is ridiculous on one level and heart-wrenching at another,” she said. “You don’t expect it, you know you haven’t done anything. It’s a little bit embarrassing.”
She said her case might be noticed because she held a public office but “I know that people are treated this way every day”.
“The concern for me is that the political debate about racism and Islamophobia is at a very low level at the moment and it feeds into this sort of thing,” she said.