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The Muslim Ban is Back and No One Seems to Care


The protests against Trump’s Muslim ban were a critical moment in the early days of this administration, demonstrating that a mass of Americans would stand up for values of inclusion. Unfortunately, with the Supreme Court at least temporarily (and probably permanently) allowing for the Muslim ban to continue, the protests about it have faded away. It’s barely on the radar screen. Meanwhile, this is happening.

An Iranian cancer researcher traveling to the U.S. to work as a visiting scholar at Boston Children’s Hospital has been detained with his wife and three children at Boston Logan International Airport.

The researcher, Mohsen Dehnavi, holds a visiting work visa that was issued in May. His detainment comes just two weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration could largely enforce an executive order that would ban people from six Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from entering the U.S. But the court also ruled that the ban couldn’t apply to visitors who already held valid visas.

Dehnavi was traveling to the U.S. on a J-1 visa, which is issued to researchers and other academics who are participating in visiting scholar programs. The hospital said Dehnavi, his wife, and three children — ages 6, 3, and 7 months — will likely be sent back to Iran on Tuesday. It’s not clear why Dehnavi and his family are being detained, the hospital said.

Mohammad Rashidian, a Boston Children’s Hospital researcher and friend of Dehnavi’s, said airport officials told him that family would need to travel back to Iran and speak to the State Department to complete additional paperwork to be allowed into the U.S.

“I don’t really know what the source of the problem is,” said Rashidian, who was supposed to pick the family up from the airport on Monday afternoon. Dehnavi texted him to say they he and his family had arrived and were waiting in line to have their visas checked. Rashidian hasn’t heard from them since.

“They were so worried,” he said.

This is grotesque. It is a violation of everything that can be good about this nation. That we are now acquiescing in this sort of thing happening without barely a peep of daily protest I find greatly dispiriting.

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