A Chinese student studying in the US was denied reentry to the country for allegedly intending to immigrate after border officials read an incriminating message on her mobile phone, Taiwan-based news portal udn.com reported Wednesday.
According to the report, the US customs found a message in the student’s WeChat app, a popular instant messaging platform, in which she told one of her friends "I don’t really want to go to school, I just need a temporary [student] identity."
The student, referred to in reports by the pseudonym S, was stopped by US customs at Los Angeles International airport when she was trying to enter the country on February 26, where she was supposed to meet her friend, surnamed Chen.
Chen claimed that she was astonished when she got S’s voice message, saying "I have been deported, you can go home." Chen said S had been studying in the US for years and had never gotten in any trouble previously.
S told media that she took two weeks off from school and went back to China in February to celebrate the Spring Festival and to attend a relative’s wedding.
S claimed that US customs officials were suspicious about if she was really a student, since February is when most US students take their midterm exams.
They then found enough proof to validate their suspicions in S’s mobile phone and deported her immediately.
This is not the first time that Chinese students have been denied entry to countries over WeChat messages.
Two students who were trying to enter Canada were deported for having child pornography in their WeChat records in February.
Many on social media questioned whether the officials violated the student’s privacy by going through her phone.
However the US Department of Homeland Security said that travelers crossing the nation’s borders may have their electronics seized and the contents of their devices examined, according to a 2011 statement.