With his father dying in Los Angeles Fazle Rabbi and his young family rushed to be by his side. They never got the chance to be with him. Customs agents at Los Angeles International Airport detained the family and then sent them packing.
Fazle Rabbi, his wife, Rokeya, and their two sons, Rakin, 14, and Raiyan, 8, rushed from Sydney, Australia on Tuesday to be with his sick father. As they went to leave LAX they were detained by US Customs and Border Protection officers. For the next day they were treated as criminals. After being sent to an area hotel at 2:30am the family was woken just two hours later for a flight back to Australia.
The family are citizens of Australia and had valid visas to go visit Rabbi’s father. They believe they were targeted because they immigrated to Australia from Bangladesh four years ago.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
“They treated us like terrorists,” Mr Rabbi said. “We are Australian citizens. Why did they have to keep us in a detention centre? Why did they have to lock up my kids?”
The officers accused the family of attempting to stay in the United States illegally. This in spite of the fact that Rabbi produced the $6400 tickets to return to Sydney.
The family knows that they are unlikely to ever see Mr. Rabbi’s father before he dies.
The US consulate-general in Sydney said that US Customs and Border Protection authorities reserved the right to refuse entry to the US.