Australian traveller 'strip-searched and jailed' in Hawaii after US border agents read her diary

Molly Hill says she was detained in Hawaii after US border officials suspected her of planning to immigrate illegally.

Molly Hill says she was detained in Hawaii after US border officials suspected her of planning to immigrate illegally.

A 26-year-old Australian woman claims her plan to spend a romantic holiday with her boyfriend in Hawaii turned into a nightmare when she was detained at the airport, strip-searched and jailed because of what she had written in her diary. 

Molly Hill planned to spend a relaxed three months with her American boyfriend and had a tourist visa for 88 days and return flight home, she said in a post on Facebook.

But when she arrived in Honolulu, she was taken to an interview room where her luggage was searched. 

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Molly Hill left Australia for Hawaii on Monday.

Molly Hill left Australia for Hawaii on Monday.

"They understood that I have an American boyfriend and I spent about six hours in and out of the interrogation rooms," she said. 

Hill said US border officers were convinced she wanted to move to the US illegally because she had written about going-away drinks and her last day of work in her diary. 

She had quit her marketing job before the trip, in line with her former employer's policy on extended holidays. 

Hill was told there were no more flights to Australia that day so she would have to spend the night in a detention centre, which turned out to be a federal prison. 

She and a Japanese woman were handcuffed and transported to the prison, where she was "frisked, made to undress in front of an officer ... and asked to squat and cough, which was absolutely mortifying". 

She was given a prison uniform and asked whether any of her tattoos were gang related, before being given a blanket and brown paper bag containing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

Hill said the prison officers were "slightly more friendly", telling her she was unlucky and "shoulda fell in love with a Canadian". 

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Her boyfriend Ross was left waiting at the airport baggage claim as she was unable to contact him, the report said. 

Locked in a cell, Hill watched The Voice with her fellow inmates, who were intrigued to have an Australian in their midst until they realised they could never visit the country because of their convictions. 

"I tried to sleep, but couldn't help hearing my bunkie drain our toilet and chat to her boyfriend upstairs through the toilet pipes."

The next morning, which was her birthday, she was allegedly woken with a flashlight before she was cuffed and taken back to the airport and forced to pay A$620 (NZ$667) for a return flight to Sydney.

"It's been a surreal few days that's taken a big chunk of money, heartache and tears," she said. 

Hill's ordeal follows that of Sydney man Baxter Reid who was locked up by US immigration in April for overstaying his visa by one hour.

He was in the US on a five-year visa and travelled to Canada as part of a requirement for him to exit and re-enter the country every six months to ensure the visa remained valid.

His girlfriend Heather Brianna said he was arrested by US Border Patrol officers after delays with receiving clearance from border authorities meant he breached his visa conditions by an hour.

He has since been released and returned to the US.

Stuff with AAP

 - Stuff

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