Why I was refused entry into Mexico as British passport holder

Jamil Daher

Published: Updated:

After an 18-hour flight from Dubai through Paris to Cancun Airport in Mexico, Mexican authorities refused to allow me to enter the country for reasons that were not explained to me, even though I do not need a visa since I have a British passport.

Despite my attempts to explain that this is not my first visit in Mexico, and that I have visited many cities in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia due to the nature of my work in journalism with MBC and Al Arabiya for 25 years, including nine years working in London, the authorities didn’t provide me with any valid reasons for denying my entrance.

The most interesting thing about the questioning was their focus on my religion and place of birth. And here I wonder: Are foreigners with European or American citizenships also exposed to such treatment? And will the new world order nullify the immunity that these nationalities used to give us?

These questions were lingering in my mind after the policeman took me to into custody in a room full of light (the kind that’s impossible to sleep in), and surveillance cameras, as well as banning me from communicating with the outside world for 24 hours. It was time for the flight home to Dubai via Paris, and I was taken by Mexican police to the plane. As I arrived in Paris, the French police were also waiting for me at the door of the plane and took me to the airport’s police station, where I awaited my second flight to Dubai.

I left Paris, and returned to Dubai wondering whether the changes that the world is witnessing is actually increasing the spread of racism at a frightening pace, and creating a gradual decline of human rights even in the free world. It seems that we have reached, or someone lead us, to the rank of becoming "a permanent suspect", because of a name, religion, color and a mother tongue.

It is the end of 2018.

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