Very Dangerous Teenage Harvard Student Deported For Having Facebook Friends
Students from all over the world are arriving in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and getting ready for the new school year at Harvard. Notably absent is Ismail B. Ajjawi, a 17-year-old Palestinian refugee who was kicked out of the country for committing the egregious sin of having Facebook friends.
Ajjawi flew into Boston's Logan Airport last Friday and was detained and interrogated by officers from Customs & Border Protection (CBP) for hours before being put on a plane back to Lebanon, where he lives with his family.
Why was Ajjawi deported? Because some Nazi CBP officer didn't like things some of Ajjawi's friends had posted on social media.
Not things Ajjawi had posted. Things other people had posted that showed up on his feed.
Yes, we're serious.
The land of the free, ladies and gentlemen!
Because we live in Donald Trump's fucking fascist ethnostate and Ismail Aijawi isn't white, a CBP officer screamed at Ajjawi and demanded to go through his cell phone, laptop, email, and social media accounts. When she couldn't find anything disqualifying from Ajjawi, she found a new target: his Facebook friends.
As detailed by The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper that broke the story:
Ajjawi wrote that he spent eight hours in Boston before he was required to leave. Upon arrival, Ajjawi faced questioning from immigration officials along with several other international students. While the other students were allowed to leave, Ajjawi alleges an immigration officer continued to question him about his religion and religious practices in Lebanon.
The same officer then asked him to unlock his phone and laptop, and left to search them for roughly five hours, Ajjawi alleges. After the search, the officer questioned him about his friends' social media activity.
"When I asked every time to have my phone back so I could tell them about the situation, the officer refused and told me to sit back in [my] position and not move at all," he wrote. "After the 5 hours ended, she called me into a room, and she started screaming at me. She said that she found people posting political points of view that oppose the US on my friend[s] list."
Ajjawi wrote that he told the officer he had not made any political posts and that he should not be held responsible for others' posts.
"I responded that I have no business with such posts and that I didn't like, [s]hare or comment on them and told her that I shouldn't be held responsible for what others post," he wrote. "I have no single post on my timeline discussing politics."The officer then canceled Ajjawi's visa, informed him he would be deported, and allowed him a phone call to his parents.
We can only assume the super offensive posts in question were critical of Our Dear Leader. (I wish this chick could see what my friends and I have to say about him. Heaven forfend she stumbles upon Wonkette!)
Listen, I hate Harvard alums just as much as the next guy. They're almost universally smug snobs who love to obliquely reference going to school "outside of Boston." But Ismail Ajjawi is exactly the type of kid who we should want coming to study at one of the best schools in our country. He's a refugee and English is not his first language. He excelled, worked his ass off, was accepted at Harvard, and got a scholarship. That's incredible. Imagine what he could do with this kind of opportunity.
Harvard, for its part, is working with Ajjawi, his lawyers, and immigration officials to try to get him to campus before classes start on September 3. Harvard spokesman Jonathan L. Swain told the Washington Post that "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."
Of course, Mr. Ajjawi isn't the only person -- or even the only student -- being harmed by immigration Nazis and Trump's war on brown people. Harvard President Lawrence Bacow weighed in on immigration policy back in July, writing a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan expressing his "deep concern" about the Trump regime's immigration policies. As Bacow wrote:
[V]isa policies mandating increased scrutiny of foreign students and scholars (and sometimes naturalized US citizens) from certain countries contribute substantially to mounting concern. Academic science is open and collaborative. While we support appropriate measures to safeguard valuable intellectual property, national defense, and sensitive, emerging technologies, singling out one country and its citizens is incompatible with the culture and mission of higher education and our national ideals [...] [T]he visa and immigration process is increasingly unpredictable and uncertain. This poses risks not just to the individuals caught up in it, but also to the entirety of our academic enterprise.
Ajjawi's ridiculous deportation is only the latest display of racist fascism from our esteemed immigration Gestapo. We have child concentration camps. We're kicking out sick kids who need medical treatment. We've all but stopped taking in refugees. We still have Trump's Muslim ban on the books.
People are being hurt and even being killed because of these bigoted policies. We really hope Ismail Ajjawi is able to get back to the US and start his studies at Harvard as soon as possible. He has more than earned it. But that won't be the end of this fuckery.
It's painful to look at the lives being ripped apart by our country's horrific bullshit, but we can't look away. This is happening on our watch.
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