Tourist allegedly barred from U.S. for 10 years over a 2-year-old text message
A British tourist traveling to Los Angeles claims she was held for an entire day before eventually being deported and banned from entering the U.S. for ten years after immigration officials discovered a two-year-old text about cocaine on her cellphone.
Isabella Brazier-Jones, 28, recently flew to California with her friend, 26-year-old Olivia Cura, for an extended vacation when she alleges she was detained by officers at passport control and forced to spend "24 hours incarcerated with no food, water or sleep" over suspicions the pair was planning to overstay their welcome in the country.
The aspiring actress told British news agency South West News Service (SWNS) that during the ordeal, where she says she was "interrogated, searched, locked up and treated like a genuine criminal," her cellphone was confiscated and looked at by authorities who found a 2017 text referencing drug usage.
"They said to me: 'There is a message referring to cocaine on your phone. Have you taken cocaine?' And I said yes," Brazier-Jones told the publisher.
The vacationer claims that after she fessed up to the one-time drug use, she was escorted onto a plane flying back to the U.K.
“Because I admitted to taking cocaine they charged me with possession of drugs and deported me," Brazier-Jones told SWNS, adding, "I am concerned that natural human empathy has been lost as officials follow Trump's directions."
Although her travel companion was allegedly permitted to enter the U.S., she followed her friend back home.
The two women, who say they lost $4,400 on flights, accommodation and car rental, have now landed in a rough spot, as both quit their jobs — Brazier-Jones as a private chef and Cura as a youth worker — and rented out their apartments to go on their extended trip.
Representatives at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Dept of Homeland Security, the British Consulate in Los Angeles and Norwegian Airlines all declined to comment on the case, SWNS reports.
This article was initially published on AOL.com: Tourist allegedly barred from U.S. for 10 years over a 2-year-old text message