Ismail Ajjawi, a Palestinian student who made headlines when he was deported over his friends’ social media posts that were deemed “anti-United States”, has been granted entry to the country. The incoming Harvard freshman spent ten days attempting to re-enter the country after his visa was revoked over political postings, but now he is officially on the Harvard campus and is ready to begin classes.
“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,” his family said in a statement.
According to Ajjawi, his visa was initially canceled by the immigration officers over concerns about political posts from his friends on social media.
“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 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.
“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. I have no single post on my timeline discussing politics.”
Ajjawi is attending Harvard University on a scholarship from Amideast, a U.S. non-profit organization that works to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, and will study Chemical and Physical Biology.
The fall semester for Harvard University begins on Tuesday, September 3. The enrollment deadline for the university was on Saturday, August 31.