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Australian children's author Mem Fox detained by US border control: 'I sobbed like a baby'
Australian children's book author Mem Fox. The experience left Fox feeling like she had been 'physically assaulted'.
Australian children's author Mem Fox detained by US border control: 'I sobbed like a baby'

Australian children's author Mem Fox detained by US border control: 'I sobbed like a baby'

The Guardian
February 25, 2017


Author of Possum Magic was aggressively questioned for two hours over her visa status and later received an apology for her treatment by border guards.

The Australian children's book author Mem Fox has suggested she might never return to the US after she was detained and insulted by border control agents at Los Angeles airport.

Fox, who is famous worldwide for her best-selling books including Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes and Possum Magic, was en route to a conference in Milwaukee earlier this month when she was stopped.

She told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation she was questioned by border agents for two hours in front of a room full of people - an experience that left her feeling like she had been physically assaulted.

"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 felt like I had been physically assaulted which is why, when I got to my hotel room, I completely collapsed and sobbed like a baby, and I'm 70 years old."

The author attributed the aggressive questioning to border police who had been "turbocharged" by Donald Trump's proposed travel ban.

Fox said she was questioned over her visa, despite having traveled to America 116 times before without incident. She was eventually granted access to the country.

After lodging a complaint over her treatment with the Australian embassy in Washington and the US embassy in Canberra, Fox received an emailed apology from US officials.

Fox said she was shocked by her treatment and "couldn't imagine" returning to the US.

Fox has written more than 30 children's books, including the hits Where is the Green Sheep? and Time for Bed. Possum Magic has sold more than three million copies and is the bestselling picture book in Australian history.