Northeastern Student From Iran Deported, Despite Federal Judge's Order

mohammed shahab boston federal court northeastern student deported

(James Rojas/WBZ NewsRadio)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Attorneys are searching for answers as to why a Northeastern University student from Iran was deported after landing at Logan Airport Monday night.

Mohammed Shahab Dehghani Hossein Abadi, 24, was planning to start his spring semester at the school, which he's been attending for the past two years. He was detained by Customs and Border Patrol upon arrival in Boston.

Federal Judge Allison Burroughs ordered a 48-hour stay of removal so that he could attend a deportation hearing Tuesday morning, but Shahab was flown out of the country before that hearing could take place—just half an hour after Burroughs granted the stay.

Dozens of Iranian-Americans and other allies gathered at Logan Airport Monday night to object to Shahab's treatment after one of Shahab's lawyers, Susan Church, called for protests.

Those protesters celebrated f Burroughs' stay, before news broke that Shahab had been removed in defiance of it.

An emergency hearing was held Tuesday morning at Federal Court in Boston. Outside, fellow Northeastern students chanted "do the right thing, let Shahab in!"

But inside the courthouse, Judge Richard Stearns told Shahab's attorneys there's nothing he can do to bring Shahab back, because Shahab was at Logan International Airport and not technically on U.S. soil when he was deported.

Stearns said his hands are tied because Shahab is already gone.

Church claims CBP lied about the timing of Shahab's deportation. CBP cannot comment on the case because of the Privacy Act.

Lawyerds said Shahab, who was in France the last time they heard from him, has had his life turned around due to the decisions of one or two CBP officers. Attorney Kerry Doyle said she's upset CBP ignored Judge Burroughs' order, and said it's part of a disturbing pattern.

"The number of Iranians that have been turned around with expedited removal has been significantly higher at the Boston port," she said. "Seven of the ten that we know of have been out of the Boston port."

"This is a pattern of misbehavior by this administration, who lacks respect for the rule of law and lacks respect for the individuals here, who are coming here just to attend school, get a degree, and further their knowledge," added Attorney Heather Yount.

Doyle said the reasons given for deporting Shahab were "indefensible."

"They're claiming he was an intending immigrant, but of course, he's been a student here for two years prior," she said. "He's been waiting for a year with administrative review, which is security checks. He's been a year in security checks. He was cleared."

WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas spoke to Carol Rose, Executive Director of the Massachusetts ACLU, before the hearing.

"Apparently, this is happening to a lot of students who are trying to come back from the holidays to continue their studies in Massachusetts, so we're concerned that Logan Airport seems to be a place where students are being denied entry—despite the fact that they have valid visas to come here," she said.

Rose said that getting an F1 student visa means that a student has already undergone extensive vetting.

"It's hard to imagine that, if he posed a security risk, our government would've given him a visa to come here," she said. "Since they did, he should be allowed to come in and to continue his studies."

The case drew the attention of local leaders, including Rep. Joe Kennedy and Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

"This president treats every immigrant as a terrorist—that’s not what this nation was founded upon. Let him stay," Kennedy wrote in a tweet.

"We must fight the Trump administration's xenophobic policies," wrote Warren.

Doyle said those representing Shahab will regroup to determine next steps.

"We intend to pursue a follow-up on Judge Burroughs' order in the coming days," she said.

WBZ NewsRadio's James Rojas contributed to this report.

WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports

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