US Muslim ban on: Palestinian Harvard freshman deported

Immigration officials cancel Ismail Ajjawi’s student visa, deports him after 8-hour detention at Boston airport

Vakkas Doğantekin   |

A 17-year-old Palestinian on Friday has been denied U.S. entry to study at Harvard University on a notorious U.S. administration policy that bars even some who are accepted to America’s most elite universities.

Immigration officials pried into Ismail B. Ajjawi’s phone and computer, checking his social media posts for eight house when he was stopped at Logan International Airport in Boston, according to a Monday report by the student-run Harvard Crimson.

The maneuvers were in line with the tough measures that took effect with legislation along with the now famous “Muslim ban” implemented shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

University spokesperson Jonathan Swain reportedly said school officials are working to resolve the matter before classes begin Sept. 3.

“The University is working closely with the student’s family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matter so that he can join his classmates in the coming days,” he said.

Ajjawi wrote in a statement that he contacted AMIDEAST, a non-profit group that awards scholarship to Palestine students to study in the U.S., for legal assistance.

“There is a reason we named this the Hope Fund,” the group said of the scholarship. “Harvard officials are aware of his plight as is the US embassy in Beirut. Our Immigration Lawyer, Mr. Albert Mokhiber is advising us and doing what he can.”

During his time in custody, Ajjawi said the Customs and Border Patrol officer specifically questioned him about his religion and religious practices before he was deported.

“When I asked every time to have my phone back so I could tell them about the situation, the officer refused and told me to sit back in [my] position and not move at all,” he wrote.

“After about five hours, she [CBP officer] called me into a room, and she started screaming at me. She said that she found people posting political points of view that oppose the US on my friend[s] list,” he said.

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About Cholo Brooks 13524 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.