Incoming Harvard freshman denied entry by immigration officials

When Harvard University's dorms opened their doors to first-year students on Tuesday, one was missing. Ismail Ajjawi, an incoming first-year student, was den...

Posted: Aug 27, 2019 3:36 PM
Updated: Aug 27, 2019 11:00 PM

When Harvard University's dorms opened their doors to first-year students on Tuesday, one was missing. Ismail Ajjawi, an incoming first-year student, was denied entry to the United States last week, according to the university.

'The University is working closely with the student's family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matter so that he can join his classmates in the coming days,' Harvard spokesperson Jason Newton wrote in an email to CNN.

US Customs and Border Protection confirmed to CNN that Ajjawi was turned away at the border -- but declined to provide any details.

'This individual was deemed inadmissible to the United States based on information discovered during the CBP inspection,' the agency said in a statement.

The university's newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, describes Ajjawi as a '17-year-old Palestinian resident of Tyre, Lebanon.'

The Crimson's report quotes from a written statement attributed to Ajjawi, in which the incoming student describes his encounter with immigration officials at Boston's Logan Airport.

According to the Crimson, Ajjawi says 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 says he was then asked questions about his friends' social media activities.

According to the Crimson, Ajjawi alleges 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After he was questioned, the Crimson reports, his visa was revoked and he was sent back to Lebanon.

The Lebanese Embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The development comes just over 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.'

Legal representatives for Ajjawi could not be immediately reached for comment and attempts to reach Ajjawi directly were not immediately successful.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 62°
Robinson
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 63°
Indianapolis
Cloudy
63° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Rockville
Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 58°
Casey
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 57°
Brazil
Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 62°
Marshall
Cloudy
62° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 62°
Rain, Breezy & Much Cooler
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1663364

Reported Deaths: 27810
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook63054211157
DuPage1073121374
Will905601118
Lake794341074
Kane67913866
Winnebago40662558
Madison39811590
St. Clair36119591
McHenry34360321
Champaign26817195
Peoria26730368
Sangamon25584283
McLean22826216
Tazewell20506330
Rock Island18679358
Kankakee17763246
Kendall16074112
Macon15178250
LaSalle14943285
Vermilion14137198
Adams13055152
DeKalb12056133
Williamson11989174
Whiteside8228180
Jackson805794
Boone785683
Coles7823121
Ogle751087
Grundy730385
Franklin7267113
Knox7176169
Clinton7080102
Macoupin6877104
Marion6857143
Henry659076
Effingham654499
Jefferson6477142
Livingston593297
Stephenson576392
Woodford572692
Randolph551299
Christian530082
Monroe5229100
Fulton519274
Morgan502598
Logan491474
Montgomery486179
Lee476060
Bureau440789
Saline431769
Perry430274
Fayette428163
Iroquois417077
McDonough371160
Shelby341847
Jersey333953
Crawford329230
Lawrence327732
Douglas324037
Union304948
Wayne299161
Richland278257
White277733
Hancock271835
Cass264230
Clark264039
Pike262357
Clay256753
Bond254524
Edgar254549
Warren242265
Ford241858
Carroll235138
Moultrie227633
Johnson223531
Wabash216119
Jo Daviess214129
Massac213548
Mason211452
Washington211328
De Witt204130
Greene203940
Mercer201735
Piatt199814
Cumberland188226
Menard170913
Jasper160121
Marshall140721
Hamilton132922
Brown10589
Schuyler105510
Pulaski103311
Edwards102517
Stark80928
Gallatin7848
Alexander71012
Scott7106
Henderson69614
Calhoun6832
Hardin59216
Putnam5594
Pope5436
Unassigned1662433
Out of IL100

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 994079

Reported Deaths: 16225
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1340942097
Lake657221150
Allen57000791
Hamilton45877460
St. Joseph43856606
Elkhart35467502
Vanderburgh31922473
Tippecanoe27644256
Johnson24778440
Hendricks23603353
Porter22676362
Madison18488404
Clark18336248
Vigo17227300
Monroe15089197
LaPorte14957249
Delaware14916255
Howard14547286
Kosciusko12115147
Hancock11562175
Bartholomew11413179
Warrick11205188
Floyd10966214
Wayne10812247
Grant9850216
Morgan9346176
Boone8793115
Dubois8194129
Dearborn813092
Henry8098149
Noble7911105
Marshall7767134
Cass7451119
Lawrence7368168
Shelby7085114
Jackson689887
Gibson6468113
Harrison639691
Huntington628799
Knox6262105
DeKalb621796
Montgomery6166109
Miami584894
Putnam572177
Clinton564571
Whitley556355
Steuben548772
Wabash5229101
Jasper517675
Jefferson504095
Ripley491684
Adams471373
Daviess4586112
Scott432968
Greene420496
Wells418087
Clay417060
White413461
Decatur4104101
Fayette401286
Jennings382060
Posey373643
Washington351048
LaGrange350978
Randolph339399
Spencer335842
Fountain331058
Sullivan326352
Starke309968
Owen309369
Fulton303166
Orange289762
Jay277144
Perry263552
Franklin261642
Carroll257632
Rush256732
Vermillion253554
Parke229126
Pike227143
Tipton224959
Blackford187040
Pulaski180354
Crawford157522
Newton155148
Benton150117
Brown142747
Martin137119
Switzerland133411
Warren119916
Union106315
Ohio83912
Unassigned0531