Harvard Freshman From Lebanon Allowed Into US in Time for Class - NBC 7 San Diego
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Harvard Freshman From Lebanon Allowed Into US in Time for Class

Ismail Ajjawi says he now has "the opportunity to learn more about chemical and physical biology and to unravel the scientific laws governing everyday life"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Student Blocked from Entering US Arrives at Harvard

    Nia Hamm reports from Cambridge, where a 17-year-old Palestinian boy is set to begin classes after initially being denied entrance to the US.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019)

    An incoming Harvard University freshman who was denied entry to the United States last month has been allowed into the country and is set to begin classes Tuesday, his family and a nonprofit organization said.   

    Ismail Ajjawi, 17, who is Palestinian and lives in Lebanon, flew into Boston and was granted entry, nonprofit group AMIDEAST said in a press release Monday.

    In a statement, Ajjawi said “With the tremendous help of EducationUSA and AMIDEAST, I now have the opportunity to learn more about chemical and physical biology and to unravel the scientific laws governing everyday life. Thank you for making such a dream attainable." 

    There was a lot of uncertainty about whether or not Ajjawi would be able to arrive at Harvard University in time for the beginning of the semester.

    Ajjawi is an incoming first year, part of the class of 2023. He told The Harvard Crimson last month that a customs official refused his entry after eight hours at Boston Logan International Airport that included questioning about his religious practices and friends' posts to social media.

    An officer who inspected his phone and laptop for hours "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 to the college newspaper, which reported that he is from Palestine but has been living in Lebanon.

    Customs and Border Protection told NBC News last week that Ajjawi was deemed inadmissible to the U.S. "based on information discovered during the CBP inspection."

    At that time, CBP said it could not release specific information about individual travelers because of privacy act requirements and law enforcement purposes, NBC News reported