Palestinian Harvard Freshman Allowed Back Into US After CBP Revoked His Visa

Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by William B. Plowman/Getty Images)
September 3, 2019 3:18 p.m.

The Palestinian Harvard freshman whose visa was revoked in August after immigration officials interrogated him about his religion and friends’ social media posts was allowed to enter the country on Monday to begin classes on Tuesday.

Customs and Border Patrol agents revoked Ismail Ajjawi’s visa and had him deported to Lebanon (his country of residence) after an agent at the Boston airport spent hours questioning him about his religion.

Ajjawi also alleged that the agent had screamed at him about his friends’ political social media posts after she searched his phone and computer. CBP then deemed him “inadmissible” to the country.

The student was allowed back into the U.S. on Monday after Harvard officials and advocacy group AMIDEAST fought to restore his visa status.

A CBP spokesperson confirmed to TPM that Ajjawi “overcame all grounds of inadmissibility.”

“The last ten 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 to the Harvard Crimson student newspaper. “We hope now that everyone can respect our and Ismail’s privacy and he can now simply focus on settling into College and his important class work.”

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