UPDATE: Alireza Yazdani has now been deported, according to attorney Brad Maze, who has been working on the case. We will continue to follow this story.
An incoming Ph.D. student at Michigan State University faces deportation after being stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at Detroit Metro Airport.
The student’s name is Alireza Yazdani. He’s originally from Iran. His attorney says he has a valid visa and permission from MSU to study at the university.
MSU did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did a spokesperson for CBP.
Ghazal Nicole Mehrani is an attorney representing the student. She says CBP agents questioned him for six hours, and he spent the night in a county detention center before she and another attorney were able to see him.
“He was terrified, we could tell,” Mehrani says. “And today was his birthday, and so he most likely didn’t want to be at the detention center on his birthday.”
Mehrani says Yazdani told her he signed a paper to withdraw his visa application and return to Iran. If true, she says he would have no legal recourse to stop his deportation.
He is scheduled to be on a flight at 4:10 p.m.
Mehrani says she believes it’s significant that Yazdani is Iranian.
“We’re seeing a trend,” Mehrani says, citing other cases in which Iranian students were stopped by border agents. “As far as I know, this is the first one at DTW. And we have to know why, why Iranian students have been targeted specifically over the past six months.”