A British Muslim family of 11 said US authorities prevented them from boarding a plane last week to travel from London’s Gatwick Airport to Disneyland, The Guardian reported Wednesday.
The family told the publication that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not give them a reason for why they weren’t allowed to take the pre-approved trip, which had been scheduled for months.
The family said U.S. officials turned them away at the departure lounge and the airline, which was not identified in the report, informed them they would not be refunded for their $13,340 in airfare. The family members were also forced to return items they had bought in the airport’s duty-free stores.
“I have never been more embarrassed in my life,” Mohammad Tariq Mahmood, one of the family members, told The Guardian. “I work here, I have a business here. But we were alienated.”
In response to TPM’s request for comment from DHS, a spokesperson from U.S. Customs and Border Protection emailed a statement outlining its practices that asserted “religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs of an international traveler are not determining factors about his/her admissibility into the U.S. Under U.S. immigration law.”
The statement also specified that travelers must overcome more than 60 grounds of inadmissibility, including health-related, security-related, and documentation requirements, in order to enter the country.