A group of 85 Korean tourists were denied entry into the U.S. at an airport in Georgia on Sunday and sent back to Seoul, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry said the Korean Consulate General in Atlanta was notified. The travelers arrived on two separate flights, and all of them obtained a travel authorization in advance through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization under a visa waiver.

According to U.S. media reports, about 50 of the visitors arrived aboard a Delta Air Lines flight and the rest came on a Korean Air flight. But they were made to wait for 24 hours at Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport and returned to Korea on Tuesday. They were all part of a single group.

They had apparently visited the U.S. before to take part in a retreat but engaged in commercial activities like selling vegetables.

A Foreign Ministry official said, "They were refused entry because the purpose of their visit in their documents differed from what they told immigration officials. We confirmed that they were not refused entry for political reasons."

The Foreign Ministry said it will hold further talks with U.S. customs so that Korean visitors can be properly informed to prevent similar incidents.
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