A British lawmaker has written to Prime Minister David Cameron, asking him to press U.S. officials for an explanation after a British Muslim family was denied permission to travel to southern California.
Cameron’s office said the prime minister will look into lawmaker’s claim U.S. officials prevented the family from flying to Disneyland for a planned holiday.
British Parliament member Stella Creasy, who represents northeast London, says she is concerned a growing number of British Muslim families are being denied entry to the United States with no reason given.
A spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection told VOA religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs of an international traveler are not determining factors about admissibility into the county.
The U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act lists more than 60 grounds of inadmissibility divided into several major categories, including health-related, prior criminal convictions, public charge, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds, the spokesman said.
The British lawmaker said in her letter to Cameron that a family party of 11 people, a father, his nine children, and his brother, were approached at Gatwick airport and told they could not board their flight to the United States on December 15.
Mahmood Tariq Mahmood, who was traveling with his brother and his brother’s children to visit family in southern California, told The Guardian newspaper he believes his family was denied entry to the U.S. because they are Muslim. He said, «It is because of the attacks on America, they think every Muslim poses a threat.»
Creasy said she has been in touch with at least one other constituent who was denied entry to the U.S. without a clear reason. And she said she has hit a «brick wall» in her efforts to get answers from the U.S. embassy in London.
Mahmood told reporters his family had been approached by U.S. government officials at London’s Gatwick Airport and told they could not board their Norwegian Airlines flight. He said they will not be refunded for their tickets, a sum he said totaled some $13,000, and were also forced to return items they had purchased at the airport’s duty-free stores. He said he fears they will not be allowed to visit their family in California in the future.
The family had been granted permission to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver program, which authorizes travel for up to 90 days without a visa.