Thursday 18 January 2018

'A big chunk of money, heartache and tears' - Woman claims she was strip-searched by immigration after they read her diary

Moly Hill
Moly Hill

Kathy Armstrong

A woman claims she was arrested and strip-searched after immigration officials suspected she might try to overstay her visa.

Molly Hill (26) alleges that when she touched down in Hawaii with her American boyfriend last Monday, she was immediately arrested by immigration officers.

Hill, who is from Melbourne, said she had a 99-day tourist visa and a return ticket but after being questioned for six hours she was told she would have to travel home to Australia the following day.

She said in a Facebook post: "In the end they were convinced I wanted to immigrate illegally because my diary had notes like 'going away drinks' and 'last day at work,' things I got in order before expecting to be away for 3 months."

Hill was held at the immigration centre overnight as there were no flights travelling to Australia until the next day, which happened to be her brthday.

She alleges that she was "frisked, made to undress in front of an officer and show that there was nothing in my hair or mouth, and asked to 'squat and cough' which was absolutely mortifying."

Read More: Irish in Oz urged to seek 'professional advice' as more visa changes announced

She ended up paying $620 (€550) for her flight to Sydney and said she was drained after the experience.

She said: "It's been a surreal few days that's taken a big chunk of money, heartache and tears."
BuzzFeed News reports that Hill was carrying documents including her birth cert, old passports and college transcripts, so officers thought she may be planning to get married in the US.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told News.com.au that Hill's story didn't add up and that she didn't have the correct visa.

They explained: "Hill applied for admission as a visitor for pleasure (which means that she is only eligible to stay in the United States for a brief period of time) under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

"However, upon inspection, CBP officers found that Hill presented conflicting information and was determined to be inadmissible under the VWP."

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