Harvard student denied entry to US on campus for classes
The Harvard University student who was previously denied entry to the United States is now on campus for the school’s 2019 academic year, Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane said.
US Customs and Border Protection previously said Ismail Ajjawi was “deemed inadmissible to the United States based on information discovered during the CBP inspection.”
CNN has reached out to the agency for an updated comment and to explain how the case was apparently resolved.
In a statement, Ajjawi’s attorney Albert Mokhiber called it “a classic sad tale with an exceptionally unique happy ending.” He thanked Harvard, the nonprofit organization AMIDEAST, the US Embassy in Beirut and the “outpouring of international media and popular support.”
When Ajjawi was initially denied entry into the US, Harvard’s newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, reported he was a “17-year-old Palestinian resident of Tyre, Lebanon.”
The Crimson’s report quoted from a written statement attributed to Ajjawi, in which the incoming student described his encounter with immigration officials at Boston’s Logan Airport.
According to the Crimson, Ajjawi said he was detained for eight hours before being turned away. During that time, he alleges, an immigration official asked him to unlock his phone and laptop and proceeded to search them for five hours. The Crimson said he was then asked questions about his friends’ social media activities.
According to the Crimson, Ajjawi alleged he was told that there were “political points of view that oppose the US” expressed by people he follows on social media.
After he was questioned, the Crimson reported, his visa was revoked and he was sent back to Lebanon.
The development came more than a month after Harvard’s President, Lawrence Bacow, wrote an open letter to Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan expressing concern over the administration’s immigration policies and their effect on Harvard’s academic programs.
“Students report difficulties getting initial visas — from delays to denials,” Bacow wrote in July. International students and scholars, he wrote at the time, “are not just participants in the life of the university; they are essential to it.”
He criticized the visa and immigration process as “unpredictable and uncertain.”
CNN’s Madeleine Thompson contributed to this report.