Mem Fox, Australian author, gets apology after being wrongfully detained at LA airport


This 70yo woman is a national treasure of Australia. No wonder she never wants to return to the USA. As a child I devoured her books which include classics such as Possum Magic and Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, and I intend for my children to do the same.

Surely, you can detain people and ask them questions without being rude, insulting and disdainful?

ABC: "70yo Australian author Mem Fox has received a written apology from the United States after what she said was a traumatic detention by immigration officials at Los Angeles Airport. Fox, who was questioned by Customs and Border Protection officers for two hours earlier this month as she was on her way to Milwaukee to address a conference, said she collapsed and sobbed at her hotel after she was released.

She said the border agents appeared to have been given “turbocharged power” to “humiliate and insult” a room full of people they detained to check visas.

“I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox said."

“I’d hate not to go back to the states because it’s been so good to me and Americans in general are not [like] the border police at LA airport.”

She said the treatment of others in the airport holding room, including Iranians, Taiwanese and a Scandinavian parent with a small child, was just as poor, and all appeared to eventually have been released.

"I thought: ‘How can human beings treat other vulnerable human beings in this fashion, in public, in full view of everybody?’


The press is acting like Immigration has never blocked entry to anyone before Trump.

I’d really like to know if things have changed, or just if every example is now fodder for some anti-Trump news.


In this case I don’t think she has a problem with being detained asked questions it was the insults and the way she was being treated that was the problem.

Surely, you can detain people and ask them questions without being rude, insulting and disdainful?


She received a written apology from the US for the treatment given her, which seems to mean that immigration officers did indeed violate protocol.

I also love Fox’s books and have shared them with my children. She’s a treasure.


She comes from a country that has always been friendly to the US …she is a 70 year old author of Childrens books…she has been to the US 116 times previously and had no problems…so yeah…most people might reasonably assume something has changed.


Oh my. My son owns one of her bilingual books.


:thumbsup: I’ll bet that these callous agents were all trained under the Obama administration (sound of crickets). Does President Trump play the “blame XXX” game as Obama did when taking office? If so, it is certainly nothing like his predecessor. He is on a tear to fix things, which is fine with me.

As well, look at Mem’s comments down down the “news article” page. She’s a huge lefty! A 70 year old snowflake???


They were probably trained under the Obama administration, which presumably led to their poor treatment of Mem Fox, AND she’s a lefty snowflake who took it too seriously? It’s truly amazing how much the nefarious left is responsible for.


Oh you deduced all that from a couple of statements. :rolleyes: She was on the tele telling them that doesn’t give a flying hoot whose President of the USA introduced it. She just wants to be treated with basic dignity and respect, the same way she treats others. She didn’t receive that. Nothing wrong with detaining and asking questions but there is no need to be rude, insulting and obnoxious to those you detain.


Then you would have a very poor understanding of statistics, if you assumed this one example signified ‘things have changed’


I’m a member of Toastmasters (in Australia). We had an area conference (competition) a couple of years ago, and one of the competitors gave a humorous speech about being pulled aside at an American airport for “inspection”.

While he gave it a humorous twist, I think he was a bit cheesed off with the attitude of the authorities. But he certainly didn’t seem to have been treated the way Mem Fox and the others were treated.

I think the power to humiliate other people has gone to their heads.

While I’m at it, I may as well tell another yarn. There was a bloke I picked up while driving a cab part time. He’d been to America, and on his first trip was pulled up by cops while he was driving a hire car.

Over here the cops don’t care much if you get out of the car, as we don’t have the constant threat of firearms being pointed in their direction. That’s of course if safe to do so, allowing for passing traffic, but he made the mistake of hopping out of the vehicle in the US. The next thing he knew he was down on the ground with pistols aimed at his back, under arrest and taken to the police station.

When the cops realised his innocence, they apologised. Then they asked him how long he’d been in the US. He replied, “Oh, about two hours!” This got a laugh from the cops.


Most people, or at least a lot of people, who work for the TSA seem to be sullen jerks who are looking for an excuse to treat people badly. Many of them have been exposed as petty thieves or perverts. Many of their bosses are power-mad bureaucrats.

The sad thing is that there are also some very kind and professional people working for the TSA because it is an important job. These people do most of the work, while the other people cause most of the problems.


Absolutely vile, but to be fair to the current administration US airport custom officials are known the world over for being rude and unprofessional. When I visited Washington last year I told the guy who was treating me with quiet contempt “Look, I have no intention of remaining in this country. I am only here because I have to be and am looking forward to returning to my country.” He looked sheepish and finally stamped my passport.


I read the article and she completely failed to support her criticisms. Let’s look at her complaints

They thought she had the wrong visa. It’s appropriate to investigate this issue and can be complicated when people are here on business, and mistakes happen. A 2hr delay could be a real problem, I wonder if they prioritize people with connecting flights?

She didn’t get a private room for her interview. So what

**She had to stand at a desk/counter in front of other people, while being interviewed. ** That’s the way such things work, same at the DMV.

They were rude and insolent. That may be true, but she never articulate how so. Where they acting like regular bureaucrats, or were they asking about her sex life? The details matter.

  1. She’s been to the USA 116 times previously on the same visa issued by the USA government. It’s the US government responsibility to issue the correct visa which by the way was the correct visa in the end.

  2. If you are going to discuss people’s personal business, you don’t do it out in the open where everyone else can hear. 70yo are from another generation, when good manners and showing others basic respect was prized.

  3. For a 70yo to stand for hours can be painful and uncomfortable. Not to mention the person interviewing her had heavy weaponry on him, dressed fully in black with Police emblazoned all over him. I know my 70yo gran would have been intimidated and terrified. American Police are known around the world for shooting first and asking questions later.

  4. She said they were equally rude, disdainful and insolent to everyone so it must be an American police thing. As others have posted and we have read in the news, American police are another breed altogether.

  5. She received an apology which means they investigated and something was not right about the way she and the others were treated.


Not defending ICE but it’s quite common for people to try enter on the wrong Visa, maybe it was the frequency of her trips that triggered the review, or perhaps it was just incompetence.

I’ve visited over 30 countries and have been questioned, there is never any privacy to the process, in any country I’ve visited.

There is nothing to see here, but business as usual for how the TSA and ICE operates at airports. I agree, they’ve never had an attitude that the traveler is a customer. The fake news is that she knew they’ve suddenly felt ‘empowered’ by Trump’s EO on immigration.


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