UK

Johnson Beharry, Victoria Cross War Hero, Left 'Humiliated' By Donald Trump's Travel Ban

'It was the worst travel experience of my life'

05/02/2017 11:37 GMT

An Iraq war hero who was awarded the Victoria Cross has been left “humiliated” after being held up by US border officials during Donald Trump’s immigration clampdown.

Johnson Beharry, who is a recipient of the highest award for gallantry that a British and Commonwealth serviceman can achieve, arrived at New York’s JFK airport hours after the president ordered travel restrictions on January 27.

Long delays at immigration meant he missed a veterans’ event where he was due to be a guest of honour.

Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
Victoria Cross recipient Johnson Beharry who has described his "humiliation" after he was held up by US border officials during Donald Trump's immigration clampdown.

Beharry, who was injured in the conflict in 2004, said he faced a wait of nearly three hours to reach the border where his passport was further scrutinised.

The 37-year-old told the Sun on Sunday he suspected he had been viewed with suspicion because of his travel to Iraq and his appearance.

He said: “I felt humiliated. I think they held me because my passport showed I had been to Iraq.

“Maybe I am a bit Asian-looking but that doesn’t mean I should be treated with the same suspicion as a terrorist.

“I explained that I had been in Iraq fighting for the British Army but they didn’t seem to care.

“The officials only let me in after I kicked up a fuss. It was the worst travel experience of my life.”

Beharry said he witnessed “Middle Eastern-looking passengers” being pulled aside by officials enforcing the president’s controversial executive order.

John Stillwell/PA Archive
Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she talks to Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC and his wife Mallissa (right) at a reunion reception for the Victoria and George Cross Association, in the picture Gallery of Buckingham Palace, in central London.

Trump’s contentious move, which looks to ban travellers and immigrants entering the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries, sparked protests around the world.

On Sunday the US appeals court rejected a request from Trump’s administration to reinstate the travel ban.

It comes after a federal judge granted a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the president’s ban on Friday.