Mem Fox: US airport ordeal 'made me ashamed to be human'
POPULAR author Mem Fox said the treatment she and others received at the hands of US immigration officials made her ashamed to be human.
Speaking on the The Project last night, the children's author said the US has changed since Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, and it wasn't for the better.
Fox, who has been to the US 116 times, was detained by US immigration officials at Los Angeles Airport earlier this month and interrogated over her visa.
But the 70-year-old told The Project this visit was very different.
"Oh good God it's changed," she said. "Oh my God it's changed, I tell you these people have been given turbo charged power."
The author of Possum Magic and Where is the Green Sheep? said an immigration officer told her she was on the wrong visa and was in the US to work.
She insisted she wasn't and was in the US to receive honorariam for delivering an opening keynote at a literacy conference.
But Fox revealed how it wasn't just her who was treated with disdain in the holding room and recalled how an elderly Iranian woman was shouted at loudly.
"What happened next was awful, just awful but it happened to every person in the room," she said.
"The treatment of people in that room while I was there, that I observed, made me ashamed to be a human being."
Host Peter Helliar asked if the incident was ironic given the subject matter of her latest book, I Am Australian too, which is all about welcoming strangers.
Fox admitted it was definitely was the case especially given the conference she was attending in Milwaukee had the theme of humanity, inclusion and diversity.
Helliar then asked if she revealed the location of the green sheep during her interrogation. But the author revealed she didn't give that much away.
Carrie Bickmore asked if she had any tips to offer her co-host on how to become a successful children's author.
"Learn how to read the book very well," she said.
"And learn how to use your voice in such a way when you overexcite kids ... you have to be able to then calm them down."
Fox has since received an apology after lodging complaints with the Australian embassy in Washington and the United States embassy in Canberra.
It's the second time Fox has been openly critical of what took place.
Earlier this week, she told the ABC she felt like she had physically assaulted and when she got back to her hotel room she "sobbed like a baby".
She said she was questioned for two hours by customs officers who appeared to have been given "turbocharged power" by President Trump's executive order.
"I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness," she said.