Iranian Students Report Last-Minute Visa Revocations

September 24, 2019

At least a dozen Iranian students who were headed to U.S. universities to start graduate programs in engineering and computer science say their visas were revoked at the last minute, The New York Times reported. The students, most of whom planned to attend institutions in the University of California system, say their visas were revoked without warning or explanation. Some were blocked from boarding flights in Iran, and others were blocked from boarding connecting flights in the Gulf. One was detained and sent back upon arrival at Boston Logan International Airport.

A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said there had been no policy change. He said that the agency has authority to cancel visas but also has policies “to ensure multiple layers of review when adjudicating a denial of admission.”

The last-minute visa cancellations follow a case at Arizona State University this fall in which nine Chinese undergraduate students were denied entry into the U.S. at Los Angeles International Airport, as well as a case of a Palestinian student bound for Harvard who was initially denied entry to the U.S. and sent home, only to be admitted on a second attempt.

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