Who Is Yassmin Abdel-Magied? Muslim Activist Says She Was Deported Upon Arrival in U.S.

Updated | Award-winning author and activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied said she was deported from the U.S. immediately after landing in the country on Wednesday.

The activist, who has been slated to host a series exploring Islamic headwear in Australia called Hijabistas! with Yassmin Abdel-Magied on ABC's iView starting in May was in the U.S. to speak at the annual PEN World Voices Festival in New York.

Abdel-Magied was expected to speak on a panel at the festival called: "The M Word: No Country For Young Muslim Women."

Author and activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied speaks onstage during Global Citizen: Movement Makers at NYU Skirball Center on September 19, 2017 in New York City. The activist was refused entry in the U.S. upon arrival on Wednesday. Theo Wargo/Getty

"I'm currently at the border and they've said I'm being deported. This should be fun. What are my rights?" Abdel-Magied asked on Twitter.

"Interesting facts: within a few min of looking at my case the border security person - Officer Herberg looking at my case she announces: 'we're sending you back!'." the activist wrote.

She said border authorities confiscated her phone and cancelled her visa.

"They've taken my phone, cancelled my visa and are deporting me," the activist wrote on Twitter. "Will follow up on messages once I understand what's going on."

Abdel-Magied later wrote that just around three hours after touching down in Minneapolis, she was already on a plane back to Australia.

"Well, guess that tightening of immigration laws business is working, despite my Australian passport. We're taking off now. What a time," she tweeted.

She added that authorities still had her passport when she boarded the flight back home, adding: "Apparently I can't be trusted with it until I'm in a foreign country because, as Officer Blees said, 'planes get turned away back way too often."

"Oh yuh and did I mention they took my phone for the whole time? Fortunately I'm a paranoid person - notifications don't show previews of messages, and a 12 digit passcode. Always be vigilant, yo," Abdel-Magied wrote.

PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement that she was "dismayed" that an invited guest to the festival was turned away by U.S. immigration officials.

Later, Abdel-Magied remarked on "what a good story this will make," writing: "Funniest thing is that throughout this whole ordeal all I am thinking about is what a good story this will make. We all have ways of dealing with situations."

"Abdel-Magied is an advocate of the rights of Muslim women and refugees and is a citizen of Australia, travelling on that country's passport," Nossel wrote.

"The very purpose of the PEN World Voices Festival, founded after 9/11 to sustain the connectedness between the US and the wider world, is in jeopardy at a time when efforts at visa bans and tightened immigration restrictions threaten to choke off vital channels of dialogue that are protected under the First Amendment right to receive and impart information through in-person cultural exchange," the PEN America CEO added.

"We call on Customs and Border Patrol to admit her to the U.S. so that she can take her rightful place in the urgent international conversation to take place at the Festival next week," she said.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency told Newsweek Abdel-Magied was refused entry because she did not have an appropriate working visa.

"During the inspection, CBP officers determined this individual did not possess the appropriate visa to receive monetary compensation for the speaking engagements she had planned during her visit to the United States," the spokesperson said.

"As such, she was deemed inadmissible to enter the United States for her visit, but was allowed to withdraw her application for admission," they said, adding that the activist would be elgible to reapply for a visa for future visits.

However, the agency that "issuance of a visa or a visa waiver does not guarantee entry to the United States," adding that "A CBP officer at the port of entry will conduct an inspection to determine if the individual is eligible for admission under U.S. immigration law and possesses valid documents for their purpose of travel."

Abdel-Magied, who was born in Sudan and is a mechanical engineer, in addition to being an activist and writer, founded the Youth Without Borders organization. She was named 2007 young Australian Muslim of the year.

Read more: U.S. Immigration Judges Told to Process More Cases to Speed Up Deportation Decisions

Last year, she received widespread backlash after penning a Facebook post on Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand commemorating those who have served, suggesting Australians should also remember Syrians, Palestinians, Manus and Nauruans."

Critics, including politicians, accused the activist of politicizing the day of remembrance, leading her to later remove the post and apologize, writing: "It was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful and for that, I apologize unreservedly."

She later moved to the U.K. in response to the episode, saying she had felt betrayed by Australia and branding herself the country's "most publicly hated Muslim."

Abdel-Magied has not responded to a request for comment.

This article has been updated with comment from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.