About the incident:
A Palestinian teenager admitted to Harvard says he has been denied entry to the US after officials objected to his friends’ social media posts.
The US government’s probing visa applicants’ social media profile apparently resulted in a Harvard student being denied entry into the US on Friday. Ismail Ajjawi, who lives in Lebanon, was questioned for hours at Boston’s Logan airport and ultimately had his visa canceled after immigration officials searched his phone and laptop, according to The Harvard Crimson.
After the search, an officer questioned the 17-year-old about his friends’ social media activity and told him she’d found some “posting political points of view that oppose the US,” the student paper noted. Despite Ajjawi’s protests, the officer denied the student’s entry and let him call his parents.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson Michael McCarthy said in an emailed statement that he couldn’t offer specific details on Ajjawi’s case due to confidentiality clauses.
“This individual was deemed inadmissible to the United States based on information discovered during the CBP inspection,” he wrote. Ajjawi, who got a scholarship to study in the US, returned home to Lebanon over the weekend.
He and the university are working to resolve the matter before classes start next Tuesday, the Crimson reported. Harvard didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment.
In June, the US Department of State said nearly all applicants for US visas would have to submit their social media details under newly adopted rules. It said travelers would have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.
The administration of President Donald Trump first proposed the rules in March 2018. Officials at the time estimated that the new regulations would affect 14.7 million people annually. Certain diplomatic and official visa applicants are exempt from the stringent new measures.