An Australian model who made headlines in January for assaulting a flight attendant has been detained indefinitely by US immigration authorities, according to a fundraising page created by her sister.
Adau Mornyang, 25, was allegedly arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials two months ago in a “surprise ambush”, says her sister Maria Mornyang.
Adau was allegedly detained for being in the United States unlawfully, a claim which Maria denies.
“Adau was shocked since she knew she never entered the United States illegally nor overstayed her visa,” Maria said.
A GoFundMe page established for her legal costs includes an apparent photo of Adau’s working visa, which appears to expire in December 2021.
In case you missed it, Adau was convicted of drunkenly assaulting a flight attendant on a Melbourne to Los Angeles flight in January 21 this year.
A US court heard the one-time Miss World Australia finalist yelled racial slurs, hurled obscenities at crew members, and was handcuffed by an undercover air marshal after she refused to leave a bathroom.
An LA jury found her guilty in March, meaning she faced up to 21 years behind bars for felony interference with flight crew and a lesser count of assault.
However, US District Court Judge Cormac Carney decided against a prison sentence, ruling she should serve 100 hours of community service and three years of probation.
Maria alleges ICE officials revoked her sister’s visa without notice as punishment for the January incident, given the fact she escaped a jail term for those charges.
“This no-jail outcome must’ve infuriated ICE officials who proceeded (without Adau’s knowledge) to revoke her valid visa and subsequently arrested her for being in the country illegally,” she said.
Maria said her sister is yet to receive a trial date on the new accusation, and that an expected deportation to Australia in September never occurred.
In a statement obtained by News.com.au, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it “is providing consular assistance to an Australian detained in the US,” but would not comment on the specifics of the case.
Earlier this year, ICE made international headlines for its practice of separating minors from families accused of entering the United States illegally – a system which mirrors elements of Australia’s own immigration detention system.
Hugely successful rapper 21 Savage was also detained and released by ICE officials this year, after he was accused of being a British national whose visa expired as a 13-year-old in 2006.
We’ll keep you posted on how Mornyang’s case pans out.