WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A 17-year-old Palestinian who had been denied entry to the U.S. late in August has been finally allowed into the country.
- The incoming Harvard freshman arrived in Cambridge just in time for classes that started Tuesday, his family said.
- Ismail Ajjawi was questioned by immigration officials for hours at Logan International Airport last month and eventually denying him entry to the U.S., “based on information discovered during the CBP inspection.”
A Palestinian teenager had been denied entry to the U.S. late in August after Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials deemed him inadmissible to the country. The 17-yar-old has been finally allowed into the country, according to his family and nonprofit organization AMIDEAST.
Last month, the incoming Harvard freshman was questioned by immigration officials for hours at Logan International Airport and denied him entry to the U.S., “based on information discovered during the CBP inspection.”
Ismail Ajjawi has arrived in Boston on Saturday afternoon just in time for classes that started Tuesday.
“The last 10 days have been difficult and anxiety-filled, but we are most grateful for the thousands of messages of support and particularly the work of AMIDEAST,” Ajjawi’s family said in a statement from their lawyer to The Harvard Crimson, the university newspaper.
In August, Ajjawi, who is Palestinian and lives in Lebanon, was allegedly questioned about his religious practices and asked to unlock his phone and laptop, The Crimson wrote last week.
After five hours of inspecting the student’s phone and laptop belonging, an immigration officer then questioned him about his friends’ social media activity, according to the statement.
According to CBP, it could not release specific information about individual travelers at that time because of privacy act requirements and law enforcement purposes. If the CBP deems that an individual is inadmissible to the U.S., it has the authority to cancel the person’s visa.
In a statement distributed by AMIDEAST before his initial trip to the U.S., Ajjawi said that he plans to study chemical and physical biology. “Thank you for making such a dream attainable,” the Harvard student said.
In the statement, AMIDEAST President and CEO Theodore Kattouf said: “We are pleased that Ismail’s Harvard dream will come true after all. Ismail is a bright young man whose hard work, intelligence and drive enabled him to overcome the challenges that Palestinian refugee youth continue to face in order to earn a scholarship.”
Harvard President Lawrence Bacow wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan in July expressing concerns about incoming Harvard students having difficulties obtaining visas, including delays and denials.