Arab Harvard student permitted entry to US

Palestinian Arab student who was denied entry to US over friends' social media posts has now been admitted.

Ben Ariel ,

Harvard University
Harvard University

A Palestinian Arab student who was denied entry to the US last month when he arrived to begin study at Harvard has now been admitted, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

The student, Ismail Ajjawi, said he was barred entry after border agents questioned him for hours at Boston Airport over anti-US social media posts written by friends.

The 17-year-old was admitted on Monday just in time to start at Harvard, according to the BBC.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) told the BBC that Ajjawi had overcome "all grounds of inadmissibility and was admitted into the United States as a student on a F1 visa". The agency did not elaborate on why he had been denied entry and later admitted.

The CBP declined to comment on the specifics of the case last month when Ajjawi's case was first reported, saying only that he had been denied entry "based on information discovered during the CBP inspection".

Ajjawai told the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper, that upon his arrival at Boston's Logan International Airport, immigration officers subjected him to hours of questioning and demanded access to his phone and computer.

Ajjawai, who lives in Lebanon, added that he was asked about his religious beliefs and practices before officers trawled through his technology devices.

He also said an officer told him “she found people posting political points of view that oppose the US on my friend[s] list.”

Ajjawi added that he stressed to the officer that he had not made any political posts himself and that he should not be held responsible for others’ posts, but the officer nevertheless cancelled his visa and informed him that he would be deported back to Lebanon.