The Deportation of an Iranian Student shows the Unchecked Power of Customs and Border Protection

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College campuses have been gearing up for start of the spring 2020 semester. But this week, Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein Abadi, an Iranian student with a valid visa to study at Northeastern University in Boston, was stopped by Customs and Border Protection, detained and then deported — despite a federal court order that should have delayed his removal. His attorneys have no idea why CBP decided to revoke his visa or why the agency ignored the court order. Judge Richard Stearns of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts urged federal officials to return Dehghani to Boston, but dispiritingly admitted, “I don’t think they’re going to listen to me.”

Dehghani’s case appears to be part of an emerging pattern. According to the ACLU, since August last year at least 13 Iranian students arriving at U.S. airports have been barred entry and removed, despite having visas. In Dehghani’s case, he underwent a year-long vetting process before receiving his visa, a process that the CBP seems to have blithely dismissed.

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