A Palestinian student’s plans to start his freshman year at Harvard was thwarted by Boston immigration officials after they allegedly read posts on his friends’ Facebook that “opposed” the US.
Ismail B. Ajjawi, 17, from Tyre, Lebanon, was deported from Boston Logan International Airport shortly after he landed, the Harvard Crimson reported.
THIS IS ABSURD — #SPREADTHEWORD
An incoming #Harvard freshman who is PALESTINIAN was DEPORTED back to Lebanon after being detained at a Boston airport for hours, reportedly after immigration officers found social media posts his friends made that were critical of the U.S. pic.twitter.com/Ss7kaZkdRs
— Ahmed Shihab-Eldin (@ASE) August 27, 2019
US officials interrogated Ajjaawi for hours and searched his phone and computer, a written statement by Ajjawi reveals.
Eight hours of interrogation included questions about the young students’ religion and religious practices in Lebanon and the social media activity of his friends.
A US immigration officer searched Ajjawi’s phone and laptop for five of the eight hours, Ajjawi said, after which he was questioned about the political views of his friends on Facebook.
A 17-year-old Palestinian Harvard freshman was deported after arriving in Boston, reports @thecrimson.
He says officials held him for 5 hours, took his phone and questioned him about social media posts by his friends that were critical of the U.S.
Then they canceled his visa. pic.twitter.com/YER9NUYaiW
— AJ+ (@ajplus) August 27, 2019
“After the five 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.”
Ajjawi told the officer he had not made any political posts or commented on the posts of his friends. “I have no single post on my timeline discussing politics,” he wrote.
An immigration officer canceled the visa of a Harvard-bound Palestinian teenager and ordered his deportation because friends of his have posted “political points of view that oppose the U.S.” on social media. https://t.co/ZrCeAc9odR
— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) August 27, 2019
Nevertheless, his visa was canceled and he was informed he would be deported.
Harvard University is looking to resolve the matter. AMIDEAST, a non-profit organization that awarded Ajawi a scholarship to study in the US, is also providing him with legal assistance.
Ajjawi wrote from Lebanon that he hopes to have his visa reinstated so that he can return to Harvard in time for classes, which start next Tuesday.
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)