A 16-year-old high school student living in Houston on a Jordanian visa was detained by U.S. immigrations officials for more than three days, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Mohammad Abu Khadra visited Jordan to renew his visa last week. When he returned to George Bush International Airport on Saturday, the Donald Trump administration had already signed a controversial executive order restricting immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries and barring all Syrian refugees from entering the United States.
Khadra, who is neither a refugee nor a citizen of one of the countries on Trump’s list, was nonetheless detained at the the airport for 48 hours before being transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement shelter in Chicago. According to his brother Rami, Khadra remains at the resettlement shelter with no access to his cell phone.
Khadra’s attorney Ali Zakaria filled a family reunification document urging the immigration officials to reunite the teenager with his family. The attorney told the Chronicle Khadra’s detention is “unconscionable.”
“Obviously Mohammad’s case is extraordinary,” Zakaria said. “For a kid to be detained at an airport for 48 hours is unconscionable.”
Khadra’s brother, who’s lived in the U.S. for five years, said he is “trying very hard to just see him or hear from him or anything.”
“I need to see if needs money or anything,” Rami said.
Zakaria told the Chronicle he fails to see what detaining Khadra accomplishes.
“It’s OK to enforce the law, it’s OK to be vigilant for terrorism, but stopping a kid at an airport for days does not accomplish that objective,” Zakari said.
“My country is not one of seven countries on the list,” Rami added. “It’s like because he’s from the Middle East, he gets detained.”