A Palestinian teen who was accepted into Harvard has been refused entry into the United States when authorities were unimpressed with the social media posts of his friend.
Last Friday, Ismail Ajjawi – who’s currently residing in Lebanon – was interrogated by officials for several hours upon arrival at a Boston airport. According to the 17 year old, his visa got cancelled when immigration examined his laptop and cellphone. Even though the Palestinian claims that he was not involved with his friend’s posts, he was still denied admission into the U.S.
Michael McCarthy, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that the move was decided “based on information discovered during the CBP inspection”, although he wouldn’t divulge any further details of the situation due to confidentiality clauses.
Ajjawi, who was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to study in the United States, has been forced to go back to Lebanon. Harvard said, “the university is working closely with the student’s family and appropriate authorities to resolve this matter”. The young student is also receiving legal aid from a United States non-profit firm.
The new regulations
Two months ago, the U.S Department of State announced that essentially every applicant for a United States visa would be required to provide their social media information due to the recently established laws. As if this scrutiny wasn’t enough, the rule also insists that travellers would need to declare any social media account names as well as email addresses and phone numbers going back half a decade.
The first mention of these laws was initially brought up in March of last year by the administration of President Donald Trump. Nearly 15 million people would be affected by the new policy each year, according to estimations from officials at the time of the law’s proposal.