(WLNS)– A 27-year-old Michigan State University student was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers after landing at DTW on Sunday.
Alireza Yazdani had a valid visa through the U.S. State Department and was vetted through proper channels prior to this. Yazdani planned to start a Ph.D program at MSU, according to his Attorney Ghazal Nicole Mehrani.
Mehrani said she learned about Yazdani’s situation Sunday night from his friends who said Yazdani had been stuck in CBP at DTW for 6 hours. Mehrani attempted to get in contact with CBP, but was unsuccessful.
Monday morning, Mehrani said she and her colleague Bradley Maze who also represents Yazdani, learned that the 27-year-old was being held at the Monroe County Jail, so they went to meet with him.
“He was terrified and he just said that I want to go back home. He’d been questioned for a long time, he was tired and he just didn’t want to stay at detention center,” Mehrani said.
Mehrani said Yazdani told them he was pressured by CBP officers to withdraw his application for entry into the U.S., but they’re still waiting for CBP to send the official documentation.
“He was under pressure. We wanted to see the document itself in order to be able to do something for him,” Mehrani said adding, “It’s not right because my client he had a clean record as far as I know and there was no security issues involved and it’s just a scary situation.”
If Yazdani did sign a withdrawal, there is not much that can be done legally to help him Mehrani said.
“It’s scary and for the past 6 months, we are hearing more cases about Iranian students that they, you know, get detained at CBP, get questioned and most of them, lots of them get deported. So we have to find out why there is such pattern recently,” Mehrani said.
There have been several other cases of students from the Middle East being detained and questioned by CBP officers at U.S. airports in recent months.
Mehrani recommends that Iranian students talk with an immigration attorney and get an update about what’s going on, before coming to the U.S.
6 News Reporter Brittany Flowers is working to learn more about this and will have more on 6 News at 11.