Jessica Althoff Detained

July 20, 2009 Artical by Ofad
Jessica Althoff

I was going to title this letter "Locked Up Abroad" but I thought that would be too dramatic and might worry people. However, I was in fact "Detained Abroad" at Heathrow on June 6th. For about seven hours. The perks: free hot chocolate and sandwiches, very kind and catering “guards” and interesting company from around the world. The obvious downside: the fear of being shipped right back to where you came from on another 10 hour flight. Which is what I thought was going to happen.

Still not exactly sure why. I am forbidden from reentering the UK for six months may have a hard time entering any country in the EU till 2017 when I get a new passport. There is literally, and figuratively a “black stamp” on my passport. But I am out of the lock up and have detainee photos as well as a certificate of detainment as souvenirs. What a start to a trip.

The immigration official took one look at me and said “We have some trouble.” One look – no questions, just a look. At which point he began asking a series of questions – all of which I answered incorrectly. He was also obsessed with the one day I spent in Macau, China. Several hours later, I was taken to some sort of holding area, fingerprinted (all ten individually and a hand print – they are not messing around), photographed, and interviewed (seven pages, recorded, with my signature on every page). A few more hours later, the official met with his superior, who agreed to let me out.

The immigration guy said, “Someone must really like you”. I thought he meant God, I had been praying. It was actually lawyers. When immigration called my internship, my internship called their lawyers (really fancy, $500/ hour, high rise downtown type lawyers – working pro bono).

Two weeks later, the same lawyers told me I needed to leave the country.


Respond

Wow. Good story, though.

Wow. Good story, though. Good writing, too. You look hot in that picture, too.

Post your reaction

This is kept private.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <ul> <li> <p> <br />

More information about formatting options


aplaceoflight