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A British Singer Said She Was Treated "Like A Criminal" At US Airport

A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection told BuzzFeed News: "Occasionally, CBP may inconvenience law-abiding persons in our efforts to detect, deter, and mitigate threats to our homeland."

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UK singer Laura Mvula said she was made to feel "like a genuine criminal" after being held in customs at Miami International Airport for four hours.

Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images

Laura Mvula rehearses at Royal Albert Hall on 11 November 2016 in London.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, in which the she appears without makeup, Mvula also claimed she was "mocked" by a customs officer during the ordeal earlier that day. "I guess to try and trigger some unruly behaviour from me... it didn't work," the award-winning singer wrote.

A spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) declined to comment on the actions of officers, but said Mvula was free to file a complaint.

Though she was later released after what she described as "a mistake made by an officer", Mvula said: "It occurred to me what trauma it must be for victims of really serious bullying by officials and more seriously what it must be to endure police brutality."

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Here is her Instagram caption in full:

No filter for a few reasons: I hope you can see my beautiful/ugly brokeness. I didn't realise how good I've had it til today. I was held at customs in Miami for 4 hours, in the end it was all down to a mistake made by an inspector. I was spoken to like I was a genuine criminal, even mocked by an officer at one point I guess to try and trigger some kind of unruly behaviour from me... it didn't work. But it occurred to me what trauma it must be for victims of really serious bullying by officials and more seriously what it must be to endure police brutality. Our world is sick and hateful but I believe there is always beauty to be found, even in the darkest places. It will be a happy new year somehow. I'm confident.

The 30-year-old shared a picture while at Miami airport.

People have taken to social media to show their support for the MOBO award winner.

Sending our love and solidarity to @lauramvula who endured such injustice at an airport in Miami. Her crime? Being… https://t.co/00LckcwhXj

As well as "shameful treatment".

@Oprah shameful treatment of @lauramvula by customs officials at #Miami airport

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Migdalia Arteaga, public affairs officer for CBP, told BuzzFeed News that sometimes they had to "inconvenience law-abiding persons in our efforts to detect, deter, and mitigate threats to our homeland".

"Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is tasked with protecting our Nation’s borders as well as enforcing numerous laws at our Nation’s ports of entry on behalf of a variety of other government agencies, including state and local law enforcement," Arteaga said in a statement.

"CBP officers routinely access information provided by these agencies to conduct examinations. All international travelers attempting to enter the United States, including all US citizens, are subject to examination upon each arrival into this country.

She added: "Occasionally, CBP may inconvenience law-abiding persons in our efforts to detect, deter, and mitigate threats to our homeland caused by the few individuals who are involved in illicit activities.

"We rely on the patience, cooperation, and understanding of travelers to ensure the effective protection of our borders."

BuzzFeed News has contacted Laura Mvula's representatives for comment.

Victoria Sanusi is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Victoria Sanusi at victoria.sanusi@buzzfeed.com.

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