Newlyweds from Britain arrived in the USA for their honeymoon, but spent their first 26 hours in Los Angeles in LAX Airport detention, before being deported.
Newlyweds Natasha Politakis, 29, and Ali Gul, 32 from Enfield in North London were on their way to enjoy a $15,000 two week honeymoon in the states, but they did not make it past airport immigration at Los Angele’s LAX airport, per news.com.au.
After touch down, instead of sipping cocktails by the pool of an LA hotel or enjoying a romantic dinner along Santa Monica, the couple spent their short few hours, 26 hours to be exact, of their expensive and much-anticipated honeymoon, in an immigration detention at LAX airport.
Their trip was meant to begin in Los Angeles before they headed to Hawaii followed by Las Vegas. However, at the immigration desk the couple were asked to have a short five minute interview, but they never got to leave, per news.com.au.
“As we were going through immigration in LA, they looked at our passports and asked us to go into a side room to answer some questions,” Natasha told news.com.au.
“We had absolutely no idea what was going on. When I tried to find out they put handcuffs on us. We were treated like criminals and we had all the relevant documentation and answered all their questions.
“After 26 hours they refused us entry into the country and escorted us onto the next flight home.”
The couple were not allowed to shower or have their possessions for the duration of their detention, and were not handed their phones back until they landed back in the UK. When they asked why they were detained, the couple were given no answer, but instead escorted to a plane in handcuffs.
“As far as we knew before we left everything was fine, but as soon as we got there they wouldn’t let us in.”
According to news.com.au, in April, Natasha and Ali had a registrar wedding for Ali’s Turkish family, followed by a church wedding in May. They left for their honeymoon two weeks later, when they were denied entry to the US and given a stamp in their passports that stating “refused in accordance with INA [Immigration and Nationality Act] section 217”.
“We believe since Trump was elected, they took one look at his name, thought he was Muslim and didn’t let him in,” Natasha said.
“US Customs and Border Protection welcomes more than a million passengers arriving to the United States every day” a US embassy spokesman told the Sun Online.
“The religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs of an international traveller are not determining factors about his/her admissibility into the US.
“Under US immigration law applicants for admission bear the burden of proof to establish that they are clearly eligible to enter the United States.
“In order to demonstrate that they are admissible, the applicant must overcome ALL grounds of inadmissibility.
“Specific grounds of inadmissibility can be found in INA section 212(a) and list more than 60 grounds of inadmissibility divided into several major categories, including health-related, prior criminal convictions, security reasons, public charge, labour certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds.”
The couple were never informed as to why they did not “overcome ALL grounds of inadmissibility” and the avenues to gain a response have been difficult.
The couple were told to get in touch with the US Embassy if they wanted to complain or get further answers as to why they were denied entry. They said they have not been able to get an appointment.
“We’re trying to get the money back through our insurance but it never should have happened in the first place,” Natasha said.
“All we want is answers as to why our entire trip was ruined.”
Lead image source: SWNS/MegaSource- Mega via The Sun