- An Iranian college student planning to attend Northeastern University was detained at a Boston airport by immigration officials Monday night.
- Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, was detained despite having been approved for a visa by the State Department to attend Northeastern University, The Boston Globe reported.
- In the wake of escalating tensions with Iran, dozens of Iranian Americans have been detained by US Customs and Border Protection.
- Two Massachusetts politicians, Rep. Joe Kennedy III and the presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, weighed in on the case.
The deportation of an Iranian college student by US immigration officials has ignited outrage from local community members and politicians on Capitol Hill.
Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, a 24-year-old Iranian national, was detained at Boston Logan International Airport by US border agents Monday night, The Boston Globe first reported. Though a judge temporarily halted Dehghani’s deportation, he was removed from the US anyway.
Dehghani planned to attend Northeastern University to study economics and was granted an F1 student visa to attend the college in the spring semester, according to Dehghani’s attorneys. His lawyers filed an emergency petition to halt his deportation and grant him permission to attend the college, arguing the Iranian national had the right to be in the country.
According to a legal filing obtained by The Boston Globe, Dehghani submitted a visa application in 2018 after being admitted to Northeastern for the 2018-2019 academic year. After an extensive background check that took nearly a year, the State Department issued the Iranian student a visa last week.
Dehghani’s attorneys argued in a legal filing obtained by The Globe that he “does not pose any threat of terrorist activity and has no criminal record in any country” and that it was “unclear” why US Customs and Border Protection would “now decide, after conducting a full visa issuance process, that Plaintiff’s student visa should be revoked.”
US Customs and Border Protection agents refused to let the attorneys talk to Dehghani after he was detained, according to The Globe. The agency did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The Iranian student’s detainment ignited swift public outcry and was said to have drawn more than 50 protesters to the airport, including Iranian Americans, who demanded his release.
Happening now. Come to terminal E. We will be here! pic.twitter.com/yWbE04zt0H
— Susan Church (@SusanBChurch11) January 21, 2020
Massachusetts politicians, including the presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also called for the student’s release.
“Shahab Dehghani is an Iranian student with a valid F1 visa, returning to finish his education,” Warren tweetedMonday evening. “CBP already held him overnight. His deportation must be halted, and we must fight the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies.”
Shahab Dehghani is an Iranian student with a valid F1 visa, returning to finish his education. CBP already held him overnight. His deportation must be halted, and we must fight the Trump administration's xenophobic policies. https://t.co/ZCKVo5fwvM
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) January 21, 2020
Rep. Joe Kennedy III also used Twitter to protest Dehghani’s deportation, adding that “this president treats every immigrant as a terrorist – that’s not what this nation was founded upon.”
Turning away those who make this nation a better place is no way to govern.
This president treats every immigrant as a terrorist—that’s not what this nation was founded upon. Let him stay. https://t.co/zCuZMa7P8H
— Joe Kennedy III (@joekennedy) January 21, 2020
As a @Northeastern & @UMassBoston student, Shahab is my constituent & I’m demanding answers. @CBP hastily put Shahab on a flight out of @BostonLogan w/o due process, violating a court order. We won’t stand for this in the #MA7. #StopDeportingStudentshttps://t.co/Ef009VZ9cp
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) January 21, 2020
Dehghani isn’t the only Iranian national to be detained by CBP. Following the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, which brought the US and Iran to the brink of war,60 Iranians and Iranian Americans were detained by CBP and held without explanation – CBP initially denied the accusations.
Though the two countries have since stepped away from the threat of all-out war, concerns remain about the possible domestic ripple effects of US-Iran tensions.
Dehghani and his attorneys were granted a stay of removal Monday night and were supposed to go before a judge at a US District Court in Boston on Tuesday morning to determine his status. Border agents, however, put him on a plane back to Iran on Monday evening. Dehghani’s attorneys did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
- Read more:
- US border patrol denies Iranian Americans were detained at the border amid ramped-up threats from Iran
- American border officials detained dozens of people with ties to Iran at the US-Canada border amid escalating tensions, civil-rights group says
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