Palestinian set to begin classes at Harvard is questioned about his religion and friends’ political posts, then deported

Harvard University
Harvard University (photo: Citizen59/Flickr)
International students facing increased scrutiny creating fear and distrust as they arrive in the U.S. for college.

By Michael Arria |  Mondoweiss | Aug 27, 2019

Ajjawi claims that he’s never made political posts on social media, but was questioned about the political posts of his friends.

A 17-year old Palestinian set to begin classes at Harvard University was denied entry into the United States, had his visa revoked, and was deported after he was allegedly questioned by immigration officers for hours.

Ismail B. Ajjawi, a resident of Lebanon, arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport on August 23. According to a written statement he released, Ajjawi was interrogated at the airport for hours. Other international students were also questioned, but they were allowed to leave after a certain period of time while Ajjawi was repeatedly questioned about his religion. He was also forced to hand over his laptop and phone so they could be searched. Ajjawi claims that he’s never made political posts on social media, but was questioned about the political posts of his friends.

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

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