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Iranian Student Stopped In Boston Deported Despite Temporary Stay

Friends and supporters of Shahab Dehghani, an Iranian student facing deportation from the United States, protesting at Logan Airport. January 20, 2020.

Mohammad Shahab Dehghani, an Iranian student who was returning to the United States with a student visa on Sunday was stopped at Boston's Logan airport and reportedly deported to France Monday night, media reports say.

A District Court Judge had issued a 48-hour stay of deportation for Dehghani and a hearing was scheduled for Tuesday when news emerged that he had been already deported. Dozens of his friends and immigration activists had gathered at the international terminal at Logan Airport Monday evening to protest his deportation order.

U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs issued the ruling on Monday night less than two hours after attorneys for Shahab Dehghani filed an emergency petition in the case, CommonWealth Magazine, a non-profit journal, reported ​on Monday.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren in a tweet on Tuesday said Dehghani's deportation must be halted. "We must fight the Trump administration's xenophobic policies," she wrote.

District Court Judge Burroghs had scheduled a hearing in the case for 10 AM local time on Tuesday before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Stearns.

But when the court met on Tuesday, the judge said the case is now moot because the student was not in the country anymore.

Customs and Border Protection reportedly told Dehghani's lawyers that the reason for the deportation order was indications that he planned to overstay his visa, but supporters say he has no family in the U.S.

The incident has become a controversial issue on Twitter among diaspora Iranians. While some have come to Dehghani's defense others say he is a sympathizer of Islamic Republic's paramilitary Basij and studying in the U.S. is a privilege not an automatic right.

Dehghani, a student at the University of Massachusetts Boston, returned to Iran and reapplied for a student visa to go back to the United States to continue his studies in economics at Northeastern University. The reapplication process took almost a year.

According to The Guardian, several Iranian students were stopped from boarding U.S.-bound flights in the past year without having been informed that their visas had been cancelled prior to travel. In recent months, however, several students with valid visas have been detained upon arrival and deported. In one case an Iranian student was held in a series of rooms in a restricted section of Los Angeles International airport for 24 hours.