Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi said she and her husband were subjected to racial profiling at Los Angeles airport when they were asked “how they got” their Australian passports.
Currently visiting the United States on a drug law reform fact-finding trip, which she says is self-funded, Dr Faruqi, who is Australia’s first female Muslim MP, tweeted the following this morning after arriving at LAX:
After fingerprinting etc, we were asked how we ‘got’ Aussie passports & marched off to the interview room for grilling. Welcome to America.
— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) January 14, 2016
Dr Faruqi told SBS News it was “quite distressing and horrible to be put through an interrogation and questioned about your background”.
“I’ve been an Australian citizen for over two decades,” she said.
“You feel really vulnerable and disempowered. But the worst thing is that these intimidating techniques are used on people every day because of their background and where they are from.
“Despite what happened, I’m looking forward to getting on with my trip and meeting with experts, advocates and campaigners in the drug law reform sphere.”
In a statement issued on Friday, Dr Faruqi said she and her husband were “asked how ‘we got’ Australian passports and then about my Pakistani history”, which she said pointed to racial profiling.
“It is quite ridiculous, nerve wracking and scary to be treated so suspiciously for no reason and sent off to be interrogated,” she said in the statement.
“There is no excuse for treating people this way.
“I’ve come to the US to find out more about drugs policy reform and to meet family.
“To be treated with such hostility at Los Angeles airport is the last thing you expect.”