Scientist Arrives In US To Research Cancer But Is Sent Back To Iran

Trita Parsi/Twitter

James Felton 12 Jul 2017, 15:55

Mohsen Dehnavi and his family arrived at Logan International Airport with the J-1 visa they needed to enter the country. The visa was supposed to allow Dr Dehnavi to conduct cancer research at Boston Children's Hospital, but when they arrived at the airport on Monday, US Customs and Border Control detained him and his family.

When he was initially detained, the hospital were hopeful they would release Dr Dehnavi soon.

"[Dehnavi] and his family are being detained at Logan are supposed to be sent back to Iran later today," the hospital said in a statement. "Boston Children's hopes that this situation will be quickly resolved and Dr. Dehnavi and his family will be released and allowed to enter the U.S. The Hospital is committed to doing its utmost to support Dr. Dehnavi and his family."

Unfortunately, after detaining Mohsen and his family for over 24 hours, the CBP decided to return him and his family to Iran.


“This individual was deemed inadmissible to the U.S. based on information discovered during the CBP inspection,” Stephanie Malin, a CBP representative, said in a statement. “As is customary with individuals denied entry to the US, they will depart on the next scheduled flight.”

Malin told the family the detention was for "reasons unrelated" to Donald Trump's executive orders, frequently referred to (by Trump himself) as a "travel ban".


The ban was recently blocked by the Supreme Court, who said the ban can't stop people with a "credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States" from entering the country. 

Mohammad Rashidian, a researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, was supposed to pick up Dehvani at the airport on Monday. Airport officials told him that the family would have to complete more paperwork before going forward.

“I don’t really know what the source of the problem is,” Rashidian said. Dehnavi texted him to say he was in line to have his visa checked, but Mohammad hasn't heard from him since, Statnews reports.

Some groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, suggested that the detention might be a violation of the Supreme Court order. 

Gregory Romanovsky, chair of the American Immigration Lawyer's Association, told NBC Boston that the detainment of the Dehnavi family shows an "overzealous enforcement" of immigration laws.

As a result, the US is missing out on a cancer researcher.


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