A newly-wed couple from Enfield, London was allegedly denied entry into the US and was forced to spend nearly 26 hours at a detention centre at Los Angeles airport because "the groom is a Muslim".
The couple - Natasha Politakis, 29, and Ali Gul, 32 - had planned a dream honeymoon in Hawaii and Las Vegas, but they said that they were "treated like criminals" and then deported back to London. They suspect the action was taken in accordance with US President Donald Trump's travel ban.
"I am in utter shock that this has happened," Natasha was quoted by The Sun as saying about the harrowing experience. "We had just got married, we were on our way to our honeymoon as excited as anything and never expected that we would be deported.
"We were treated like criminals and we had all the relevant documentation and answered all their questions. It's not okay to treat people like that."
During detention, the couple said they were denied a shower and coffee, and all their possessions were confiscated by the American officials. They received their phones back only after they touched down on UK soil. The couple also alleged that on inquiring about the reason for their detention they were handcuffed and escorted onto a flight back to London.
The couple said that they had spent nearly £7,000 for this dream two-week honeymoon trip to the US, but it all went waste. They were now struggling to get an appointment with the US Embassy to sort the matter.
They added that they suspect the reason for the denied entry could be Ali's Turkish origin.
"As we were going through immigration in LA, they looked at our passports and asked us to go into a side room to answer some questions," Natasha said, recalling the incident.
"They stuck us in this detention centre in the airport, stripped us of all our possessions and didn't let us shower, get a coffee or change our clothes for 26 hours.
"As far as we knew before we left everything was fine, but as soon as we got there they wouldn't let us in. We believe since Trump was elected, they took one look at his name, thought he was Muslim and didn't let him in.
"Finally when we landed back in the UK on the May 24 we were allowed to speak to our families and they were in absolute hysterics having not heard from us in two days," she added.
The couple had a registrar wedding in April for Ali's Turkish family followed by a big church wedding with a reception on 6 May. They set out for their honeymoon two weeks later, but their visa stamps now state they were "refused in accordance with INA section 217".
A US embassy spokesman told Sun Online that "religion, faith, or spiritual beliefs of an international traveler are not determining factors about his/her admissibility into the US". The person added that travelers are only required to "overcome ALL grounds of inadmissibility".
"Specific grounds of inadmissibility can be found in INA § 212(a) and list more than 60 grounds of inadmissibility divided into several major categories, including health-related, prior criminal convictions, security reasons, public charge, labor certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds," the spokesman told the publication.