Palestinian Student Turned Away by Immigration Allowed Entry to Start Freshman Year at Harvard

A 17-year-old Palestinian student who was denied entry into the U.S. last month will start classes with his fellow Harvard freshmen today after he returned to the country over the weekend. Ismail Ajjawi was turned away at Boston’s Logan Airport just under two weeks ago after being interrogated by immigration officials about his religion and social media posts by friends that were critical of U.S. policy. He was then forced to return home to Lebanon, but his case provoked outrage on the Harvard campus and among some Palestinian rights and academic freedom groups.

Theodore Kattouf, the president of AMIDEAST, the educational nonprofit that granted a scholarship to Ajjawi, said in a statement, “We are pleased that Ismail’s Harvard dream will come true after all. Ismail is a bright young man whose hard work, intelligence and drive enabled him to overcome the challenges that Palestinian refugee youth continue to face in order to earn a scholarship.”