Controversial Australian media identity Yassmin Abdel-Magied is returning to the UK after being deported from the US on Thursday morning.
Ms Abdel-Magied was due to present at PEN America’s event No Country for Muslim Women when authorities at Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport deemed she did not possess the appropriate visa.
Abdel-Magied live-documented the incident through a series of tweets claiming the US authorities had taken her phone and passport while her visa was being cancelled.
Those who say the world is borderless are those who have the right colour passports – or birthplace. https://t.co/4ErWNrzfJ7
— Yassmin Abdel-Magied (@yassmin_a) April 12, 2018
Abdel-Magied says it’s not the first time she has travelled for similar duties on this particular visa.
Curtin University Cultural Studies professor Suvendrini Perera says the deportation is a disturbing development given the US and Australia’s commitment to free speech.
“I do really hope and trust that the Australian government and the minister will offer all the support they can to Yassmin to enable her to participate,” Dr Perera says.
Abdel-Magied moved to the UK after posting a comment on ANZAC Day last year urging people not to forget a range of conflicts and causes, including the plight of refugees detained by Australia.
The posts were deleted shortly after, and Ms Abdel-Magied issued an apology but the outcry was immediate and merciless.
— Zanetti Cartoons (@ZanettiCartoons) April 25, 2017
Dr Perera says it is difficult to say if the controversy played a role in Ms Abdel-Magied’s deportation as she has attended similar events since the controversy and it is the first time she has had visa troubles.
“It’s difficult not to think that the controversy of last year has not had some impact,” Dr Perera says.
PEN America has urged the US Customs and Border patrol to allow Ms Abdel-Magied to attend the international conversation at the PEN World Voices Festival next week.
“We call on Customs and Border Patrol to admit @yassmin_a to the U.S. so that she can take her rightful place in the urgent international conversation to take place at the @PENworldvoices Festival next week.” https://t.co/QjazQRoPPH
— PEN America (@PENamerican) April 12, 2018