Incoming Harvard freshman has visa revoked, is immediately deported

Screengrab Arabic TV: Ismail B. Ajjawi

In what looks to be a tale of two cities, a 17-year-old Palestinian refugee and incoming Harvard University freshman had his visa revoked hours after landing in the U.S.

Ismail B. Ajjawi, who lives in Tyre, Lebanon, arrived in the country Friday evening intent on starting fall classes at the prestigious Ivy League school, but never made it out of Boston Logan International airport because his visa was revoked.

According to Ajjawi, who had planned to pursue a degree in Chemical and Physical Biology, he was detained by immigration officials and subjected to hours of questions and had his phone and computer searched.

The assertion coming in a written statement from Ajjawi, the school newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, reported.

The student, who was immediately deported, said that he was confronted about anti-American social media posts from online friends.

“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 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.”

The Crimson noted that other students were admitted into the country and allowed to depart the airport.

Ajjawi also claimed that he was questioned about his religion and religious practices in Lebanon.

The problem here is the State Department declined to comment on the details of the case, giving a generic response because visa records are confidential under U.S. law.

U. S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Michael S. McCarthy said in an emailed statement that Ajjawi was found to be “inadmissible” to the country.

“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,” McCarthy wrote. “This individual was deemed inadmissible to the United States based on information discovered during the CBP inspection.”

In the end, either we trust the professionals tasked with enforcing our immigration laws and ensuring our safety, or we don’t. Of course, these are the same officials that Democratic members of Congress and their allies in the media liken to jack-booted Gestapo agents in Nazi Germany.

And if Ajjawi’s case is to be heavily scrutinized because he’s a Palestinian refugee, a favored demographic on the left, then why would every visa revoked by immigration officials not be equally scrutinized?

As for liberal Harvard, their course is set.

Harvard spokesperson Jonathan L. Swain told the Crimson in an email the school is working to resolve the matter.

“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,” Swain said.


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