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Home / US / According to Harvard Freshman, he was denied entry to the US due to social media contributions from friends

According to Harvard Freshman, he was denied entry to the US due to social media contributions from friends

Ismail Ajjawi made headlines in Lebanon as a 14-year-old growing up in a dilapidated camp for Palestinian refugees – as one of the top scorers in the country's primary school examinations. This year he graduated from high school and received a full scholarship at Harvard University.

He secured a student visa and in the dream of becoming a surgeon had already decided on a major subject – chemical and physical biology.

] "There is room for discovery in this area," the 1

7-year-old said in an interview with Al-Araby TV aired Friday when he arrived in the United States.

"Excellence also requires work and effort." he told the interviewer. "I always had this goal. I used my time, studied everything to get that result. "

But his plans faltered after he landed at Boston Logan International Airport before he refused to enter the US, according to a report that Ajjawi submitted to Harvard Crimson .

The reason? His online friends were critical of the US.

Ajjawi protested and stated that he did not like, share or comment on such posts and should not be held responsible for them. He was allowed to call his parents before he was sent back to Lebanon.

It is unclear whether he will be allowed to enter the US before teaching on September 3, to ensure that international students and scholars can enter the country in a far-reaching fight against legal immigration.

This excludes the effects of the Trump's ban on travel to the United States by nationals of Yemen, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, North Korea and Venezuela. Several international Harvard students were initially prevented from entering the US after the President
Trump signed the first rerun of his travel ban in 2017. [19] In the past month, Harvard President Lawrence S. Bacow said in an open letter to Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Interior Security Minister Kevin K. McAleenan that he "Deep concerns" about immigration policy.

"Students report having difficulty getting their first visa – from delays to disapprovals," he wrote. "Scientists have had delays and disruptions to traditional immigration processes such as family visas, renewal status or permit for international travel. "

" Visa policy, which requires more examination of foreign students and scholars (and sometimes naturalized Americans) citizens from certain countries, is a major source of growing concern.

International students are expected to make up 12.3% of the 1,950 students in the Harvard class of 2023. Country-specific data for this year are not available, although in the last year freshmen were admitted, including two from Lebanon.

According to US Immigration and Customs, there were 1,201,871 international students in the country in March, down 2.9% from a year earlier. This number includes K-12, college, university and language study programs. These include students who work in the country for up to three years after completing their studies.

According to the non-profit association, the decline in higher education has been steeper in the last two academic years, with registrations falling by around 10%. of International Educators, who has expressed concern that recent changes in US visa policy will harm international scholars.

According to Crimson, Ajjawi was in a group of international students at Boston airport when immigration officers selected him.

] The others were allowed to leave. He was questioned about his religion before the authorities seized his computer and his phone for five hours.

"Each time I asked if I should have my phone back so that I could inform them about the situation, the officer refused and asked me to sit back in [my] position and not move at all," he said Student newspaper in a written statement. "After the 5 hours were over, she called me into a room and started shouting at me. She said that on my friend list [s] she found people who represent political views that oppose the US. "

" I replied that I had nothing to do with such posts and that I did not like them [s] Hare Or comment on them and tell them that I am not held responsible for what others post should, "it says in the statement. "I do not have a single post on my timeline discussing politics."

On a Facebook account that apparently belongs to Ajjawi, the only posts visible to the public are four of him. Only one is related to the United States, an announcement dated August 16, which contained the Harvard crest "veritas" and announced that he would start at university. It sparked dozens of likes and comments congratulating him.

"Good luck!" Some said while others praised him saying, "May God bless you."

The profile contains several photos, including one by Harry Potter and another member of the Dutch national football team at FIFA World Cup 2014. The account using the spelling Ismael Ajjawi has 752 friends, including some whose profiles also indicate that they are participating in Harvard.

The State Department has begun this year to request information on social media accounts for visa applicants. During the Obama administration, sending social media account information was usually optional. In general, immigration authorities have wide discretion to deny entry to foreigners who are not citizens or permanent residents.

Between October and July, US Customs and Border Protection officials found 235,467 people at US borders inadmissible. About 43% of them were on the border with Mexico.

Harvard spokesman Jason Newton said Tuesday: "The university is working closely with the student's family and the relevant authorities to clarify this matter so he can join his classmates days.

Newton said he could not provide any further information about the case. A lawyer representing Ajjawi's family did not comment on the Times.

A spokesperson for US Customs and Border Patrol said Ajjawi was "deemed inadmissible for the United States based on information discovered during the CBP inspection" and declined to provide any further details of the case ,

"Applicants must demonstrate that they have been admitted to the US by overcoming all grounds of inadmissibility, including health reasons, crime, security reasons, public charges, employment certificates, immigration violations. Documentation requirements and various reasons, "said spokesman Michael S. McCarthy.

Foreigners who have been denied admission to US airports can generally apply for a visa again.

Kaleem reported from Los Angeles and Bulos from Amman, Jordan. Andrea Castillo and Claire Collins from Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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