BOSTON, Tuesday, September 03, 2019 (WAFA) – Ismail Ajjawi, 17, a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon who was turned back at a US airport 10 days ago when he arrived in Boston to attend Harvard University, has arrived on campus yesterday, a day before classes were scheduled to start, following interventions that led the US immigration office to overturn his entry denial decision, reported the Harvard Crimson.
Ajjawi, who was admitted to Harvard University and earned a scholarship from AMIDEAST to study at this prestigious university, was issued a visa to the United States. However, he was denied entry to the country when he arrived at Boston Logan International Airport on August 23 and forced to return to Lebanon, where he was born and went to school at Deir Yassin High School in El Buss refugee camp, south of Tyre.
“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,” according to a statement by Ajjawi’s family issued through his lawyer, reported the Harvard Crimson.
US immigration denied entry to Ajjawi supposedly due to content his friends posted on social media that opposed the policies of the administration of US President Donald Trump. He was detained in the airport, harassed and berated by immigration officials, then ordered to hand over all of his electronics. After going through his phone and computer for hours, officers returned to the room in which Ajjawi was being held and began screaming and yelling at him. They then proceeded to inform him that his visa was being revoked due to posts by his friends on social media and put him on the next plan back to Lebanon.
Statements of support from Harvard student body, staff and AMIDEAST as well as petitions led the US immigration office to overturn its decision and allow Ajjawi in to assume his earned seat at Harvard.