Palestinian Teen Starting At Harvard After First Being Denied Entry To US

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(Facebook.com/Harvard University)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — It's the first day of college for countless students in the Boston area—but it almost wasn't for one Palestinian teenager who was accepted to Harvard University.

Ismail Ajjawi, 17, was initially denied entry to the United States after landing at Logan Airport nearly two weeks ago.

Ajjawi, who was living in Lebanon, was accepted to the university and awarded a scholarship by the non-profit organization Amideast.

"He wants to be a medical doctor, he wants to serve his people, his potential is almost unlimited," said Amideast President Ted Kattouf. "I don't want to put pressure on the young man, he's had enough pressure on him, but I have every expectation that he will be an outstanding student, even at an elite institution like Harvard."

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the decision to cancel Ajjawi's visa on August 23 was based on their inspection, reportedly of his phone and laptop. Agents were concerned about Ajjawi's friends' postings on social media, which were critical of the United States.

Amideast also provided legal assistance to Ajjawi, and his visa was reissued after the case was reviewed by the U.S. Embassy in Beiruit.

Ajjawi landed at Logan Saturday afternoon, ready for the start of classes Tuesday.

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WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports

 

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