A Jamaican woman was whisked back on a flight to Jamaica and her visa revoked after she arrived at the Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas on Wednesday night.
The woman's family members sought answers from US media outlet KHOU 11 News, who aired their story.
Veronica Gaubault, who was sent back to Jamaica, told the Houston media that US Customs and Border Protection revoked her visa after customs agents inspected her iPhone, iPad and other belongings.
Her cousin, paediatrician Kareen Smith said she waited for approximately four hours before customs agents told her that Gaubault would not be allowed to enter the country. They “just decided they were not going to let her in”, she told KHOU 11 News.
A statement from the US Customs and Border Protection said that “It is important to note that issuance of a visa or a visa waiver does not guarantee entry,” adding that “a CBP officer at the port of entry will conduct an inspection to determine if the individual is eligible for admission into the US”.
When asked why the woman’s belongings were searched they said it was for “administrative causes,” KHOU 11 News reported.
Smith said text conversations between her and Gaubault were also scrutinised.
“She visits me, she visits other family we have in New York or Florida, and she goes home,” Smith said. “She never overstays her time. She always honours her visa, and for some reason, this is the first time she’s been denied.”
Legislation allows the US Customs and Border Protection Agency to take steps deemed necessary before allowing travellers to enter the US.
Immigration attorney George Crimarco previously advised that there is no constitutional protection within the confines of the airport, whether the traveller is a citizen or not, but actions of the customs agency could be contested if entry clearance is given.