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  • Palestinian student Ismail Ajjwali (middle) finally made it to Harvard University after being deported by the U.S.

    Palestinian student Ismail Ajjwali (middle) finally made it to Harvard University after being deported by the U.S. | Photo: Twitter / @raza_hamzah

Published 3 September 2019
Opinion

Amideast, the non-profit that awarded Palestinian student Ismail Ajjawi scholarship for Harvard said that he arrived at the university’s ​​​​ campus Monday afternoon.

Palestinian student Ismail Ajjawi who was deported by the United States has made it to Harvard University’s campus just before starting of the new semester. 

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Palestinian Harvard Student Deported for Friend's Social Media

Ajjawi, a 17-year-old son of Palestinian refugees were denied entry into the U.S. at Logan International Airport in Boston on Aug. 23. The student was deported to Lebanon, his country of residence, despite having a valid visa student and a scholarship, according to university The Crimson newspaper. 

The student said U.S. officials took his phone and laptop, questioned him about his social media activity and religious practices.  

"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," Ajjawi wrote in a statement after his deportation.

"After the five 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."

A spokesperson from Harvard said the university is working to help Ajjawi so that he can start the upcoming year on its campus that begins Sept. 3.

"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," the spokesperson said.

Harvard students started an online petition calling for Ajjwali’s re-entry which received 8,000 signatures. 

U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib condemned the decision saying Ajjwali should not "robbed of the Harvard dream he worked so hard to achieve.”

"#IsmailAjjawi should be in the US preparing for classes right now," she wrote on Twitter. 

Amideast, the non-profit that awarded Ajjawi scholarship for Harvard said that he arrived at the university’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts Monday afternoon. 

"We are pleased that Ismail's Harvard dream will come true after all," Amideast president Theodore Kattouf said in a statement. 

"Ismail is a bright young man whose hard work, intelligence and drive enabled him to overcome the challenges that Palestinian refugee youth continue to face in order to earn a scholarship." 

"The last ten days have been difficult and anxiety-filled, but we are most grateful for the thousands of messages of support and particularly the work of Amideast," the family said in a statement.

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