A Brisbane woman who was deported back to Australia while transiting through the United States said she was questioned repeatedly about whether she was pregnant or recently had an abortion before being sent home.
Per The Guardian, Madolline Gourley was en route to a family holiday in Canada when she was detained at her stopover in Los Angeles on June 30. She was stopped by officials who were suspicious about her plans to house sit and cat sit in return for somewhere to stay during her Canadian holiday.
Madolline, who was reportedly wearing a loose-fitting dress (AKA comfy flight clothes), claimed the US border officials took her fingerprints, patted her down and interrogated her — which included questions about her fertility.
She said that as they moved from room to room, US officials kept asking her if she was pregnant before finally asking if she’d had an abortion.
“She was walking me from one room to the next, and she asked the pregnancy question again,” Madolline said.
“I don’t know if she had forgotten, or she wanted to work out if I was lying or something. I said no, and she looked at me again and said, ‘Have you recently had an abortion?’
“I just thought, ‘What’s the relevance of that to my situation?'”
Seems like a pretty weird and arbitrary thing to ask someone, but go off.
Even though Madolline had travelled through the U.S. while volunteering for TrustedHousesitters — the same house/cat-sitting service she was using for her most recent trip — she was told she was to be deported back to Australia.
She has a blog called One Cat At A Time which is dedicated to her feline-friendly travels. She documents her journey around the world as she house and cat sits for strangers, which she said has saved her “thousands of dollars on accommodation-related expenses”.
To Madolline’s surprise, she had breached the conditions of her visa waiver program with her most recent cat-sitting plans. A spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection told The Guardian the program doesn’t allow applicants to engage in “any type of employment or get compensation for services rendered”.
PEDESTRIAN.TV has reached out to Madolline for further comment.