Are there any incriminating texts or e-mails on your phone? If there might be, even if there from a while ago, you might want to delete them, save them to the cloud or maybe leave the whole thing at home and bring a burner with you the next time you go abroad. Recently, someone told Vice a story about how 2-year-old texts (or maybe e-mails, she’s not sure) got her turned away at the border, told that she was an “official felon” and banned from the United States for 10 years.
What happened exactly? In her article for Vice UK, London resident and actress Issy Brazier-Jones says the incident started when she told the border control officer that she and the friend she was traveling with were visiting the United States for the first time and staying for two months: one month in Los Angeles and one month in New York City.
When the officer heard how long the two were staying, he asked Issy how much money was in her bank account. When she told him (Issy doesn’t disclose just how much was in the bank account in the Vice article) he said that that wasn’t enough and asked “a bombardment of questions” before he confiscated her phone and her passport (and her travel companion’s) and escorted them both separately into the “deportation center” where the two friends were told not to look at eachother.
Later, says Issy, she was interrogated eight times over a 24 hour period to determine whether she was really working or vacationing in the country. When she maintained that she was just visiting, they searched her phone and “brought up emails from five years ago.”
That’s when they found a reference to cocaine on her phone. When they asked her whether or not she’d taken cocaine before, Issy says, “I didn’t want to lie, so said: ‘Yeah, I’ve tried it before.’ That’s how I got deported because of a reference they said was from two years ago.”
Issy told Vice that she doesn’t know “what text it was, and when I got back I just deleted everything off my phone. I’ve got a lot of people I know in recovery, including family, so I wondered if it was that. There have been references in texts after a night out from friends asking me if I ‘took coke last night.’ I don’t think I even replied! It’s a really hard thing because you live in London, and it just becomes part of your vocabulary.”
She does know that she doesn’t plan on ever coming to the United States again, even after her 10-year ban from the country is up.
You can read more on this story on Vice.