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It has been one week since U.S. border officials denied entry to a 17-year-old Harvard freshman just days before classes were set to begin.
Ismail Ajjawi, a Palestinian student living in Lebanon, had his student visa canceled and was put on a flight home shortly after arriving at Boston Logan International Airport. Customs & Border Protection officers searched his phone and decided he was ineligible for entry because of his friends’ social media posts. Ajjawi told the officers he “should not be held responsible” for others’ posts, but it was not enough for him to clear the border.
News - Outcry - Fury - TechCrunch - Case
The news prompted outcry and fury. But TechCrunch has learned it was not an isolated case.
Since our story broke, we came across another case of a U.S. visa holder who was denied entry to the country on grounds that he was sent a graphic WhatsApp message. Dakhil — whose name we have changed to protect his identity — was detained for hours, but subsequently had his visa canceled. He was sent back to Pakistan and banned from entering the U.S. for five years.
Number - Device - Searches - Year - Lawmakers
Since 2015, the number of device searches has increased four-fold to over 30,200 each year. Lawmakers have accused the CBP of conducting itself unlawfully by searching devices without a warrant, but CBP says it does not need to obtain a warrant for device searches at the border. Several courts have tried to tackle the question of whether or not device searches are constitutional.
Abed Ayoub, legal and policy director at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told TechCrunch that device searches and subsequent denials of entry had become the “new normal.”
Dakhil - Story
This is Dakhil’s story.
As a a Pakistani national, Dakhil needed a visa to enter the U.S. He obtained a B1/B2 visa, which allowed him to temporarily enter the U.S. for work and to visit family....
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