Two Iranian college students have filed civil rights complaints with the US Department of Irish Security, saying they were being abused and illegally arriving in Boston International Airport in Logan.
Shahab Dehghani, who attends Northeast University, and Reihana Emami Arandi, who were about to start classes at Harvard University, recently filed specific complaints with the agency’s civil rights office, asking the agency to investigate the conduct of Customs and Border Protection officers.
Students say that federal officials have kept and questioned them for hours at the airport before they concluded that they intended to stay in the country beyond their permitted temporary visas.
Students maintain that their visas were not intended for too long and the federal officials did not provide any evidence to support their conclusions.
“I couldn’t believe how I was treated and I couldn’t believe that I got such behavior,” Arandi said in her complaint. “I have never had any interest in the United States nor did I intend to stay in the United States in the long term. In fact, Harvard is the only school in the United States that I even applied for. high-competitive one at Harvard. “
Arandi and Dehghani are among ten Iranians who have at least been refused entry into the US since August. Seven of those had flown to Boston airport.
Homeland Security speakers did not respond to emails seeking comments. Customs and Border Protection refused to comment.
In a complaint filed on Monday, Dehghani lawyers claim that they had been admitted to the United States three times in recent years to study in Boston and that the latest student visa was issued after the Department of State had carried out vetting almost a year.
The 23-year-old economics and maths student, whose name is Mohammad Shahab, was also banned from communicating with his solicitor during questioning and was questioned “threatening and non-civilized” which focused on his faith. religious and political, according to the complaint.
Federal officials deliberately disregarded an emergency court order awaiting temporary transfer until the case could be heard in court and forced him to board a flight bound by Paris, Dehghani lawyers argue.
“This whole case is unacceptable and dealt with in a completely non-professional manner,” concludes the complaint. “This behavior by members of Custom and Border Protection can not stand.”
Arandi, a 35-year-old graduate student at the Harvard Theological School, said her complaint filed on 30 January that she was detained at Logan Airport on 18 September and was questioned for almost eight hours on her work, family. , travel and opinions about recent events in the Middle East.
She also said officers had searched and saved her luggage, laptop and mobile phone and had not allowed her to make any calls, including with officials at Harvard.
Arandi said that she also did not understand the legal implications of refusing to sign a statement given to her by officials, which is now banned for five years.
In her complaint, she said she hoped to earn a master’s degree at Harvard so that she could eventually work in research, teaching or humanitarian work in the Middle East or North Africa.
Civil rights groups say Iranians were targeted for further screening and inquiries at airports since President Donald Trump issued a ban on travelers from some Muslim countries in 2017, including Iran.
But they say the target is not going to deteriorate but as the relationship between the US and Iran deteriorated, leaving a US drone strike that killed one of the ordinary platforms. of Iran last month.