U.S. travel writer banned from Ireland in immigration snafu
In a jam like the 'Plano 3,' American journalist spends four days back-and-forth over Atlantic
The questioning went on. The immigration officer was still not happy.
“She wanted to know why I didn’t have euros on me. I told her my bank only charges me $1 to withdraw money in Ireland so that is the way I do it.”
Fowler explained that she often travels on two one-way tickets as they are less expensive than changing a return flight. She added that she had flown into Shannon last year on a one-way and that it had not been an issue.
When the officer asked Fowler about her own family life, she said she had three children, two in college and one who was 17 and he was with his father in the U.S. for the summer.
“She (officer) then said ‘so you’ve left your husband and children.’ I said 'he's my ex husband and I’m on my vacation'.”
“I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was in tears at this stage. She told me to go and sit down and people were just staring at me.”
Eventually the officer told Fowler she didn’t believe her story and that she was booked on the next Delta flight back to the U.S.
“I asked to speak with someone else. She said ‘you’re dealing with me. You’re out of here now’.”
Distraught and still in shock, Fowler spent the plane journey home in floods of tears trying to come to terms with the fact that she wouldn’t get to see her best friend this summer and the humiliation she suffered at the hands of the Dublin immigration officer.
“It wasn’t like I was a single kid running around Europe. I have three grown kids, two in college,” said Fowler.
“I always wanted to go to Scotland and England so I booked it for $1,900.”
Upon arriving in Manchester in England, the immigration officers saw that she had been refused entry into Ireland two days before and they too questioned her.
“I have to say the immigration officers in England were lovely. They were very professional but they too asked me a lot of questions,” she said.
After a call to Ireland, Fowler learned that she was not going to be allowed entry into the U.K. either.
“They told me they called Ireland and they said they didn’t want me in the U.K. in case I tried to get back into Ireland. Just ridiculous. And the worst part is the English immigration officers said they believed my story and when they searched my luggage they said it was obvious that I was only going on vacation.”
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