On Friday night, a 17-year-old Ismail Ajjawi was detained at Boston Logan International Airport. Ajjawi is a Palestinian student never left the airport who was preparing to begin his freshman year at Harvard University.
It has been reported by the Harvard Crimson that U.S officials detained Ajjawi for eight hours interrogating him and searching his phone and computer. After that, they revoked his visa and sent him home to Lebanon.
Ajjawi in his statement said an immigration officer claimed “found people posting political points of view that oppose the U.S.,” though she discovered nothing Ajjawi had posted himself.
Ajjawi described his experience after the officer searched his electronics as he said, “After the 5 hours ended, she 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.”
“I responded that I have no business with such posts and that I didn’t like, [s]hare or comment on them and told her that I shouldn’t be held responsible for what others post,” he added. Ajjawi’s visa was revoked and he returned to Lebanon, reported Crimson.
Harvard spokesman Jonathan Swain said in an emailed statement: “The University is working closely with the student’s family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matters so that he can join his classmates in the coming days.”
Michael McCarthy, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said in an email that the department is “responsible for ensuring the safety and admissibility of the goods and people entering the United States. Applicants must demonstrate they are admissible into the U.S. by overcoming all grounds of inadmissibility including health-related grounds, criminality, security reasons, public charge, labor certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds. This individual was deemed inadmissible to the United States based on information discovered during the CBP inspection.”
“Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases. Generally, visa applicants are continuously screened, both at the time of their application and afterward, to ensure they remain eligible to travel to the United States,” said a State Department official in an email to The Washington Post.