USA authorities came close to deporting an Egyptian-born French Jewish Holocaust-era scholar on his way to speak at a symposium at Texas A&M. Henry Rousso's Kafkaesque tale unfolded Wednesday after he landed in Houston on a flight from Paris and was taken into custody for 10 hours, he confirms via Twitter.
After he was released, Rousso learned that Texas A&M officials and an immigration lawyer made phone calls on Rousso's behalf to ensure his release. "I don't think the officer who made a decision to detain him really understood the visa requirement and the technicalities on getting an honorarium, which are permitted under his visa", Marouf toldThe Guardian.
Henry Rousso, a pre-eminent scholar on the Holocaust, said he was held by border agents in Houston after authorities began to question his visa.
Authorities wrongfully detained a French Jewish Holocaust scholar at the Houston worldwide airport earlier this month and almost deported him.
Senior official Richard Golsan said there had been a misunderstanding regarding the parameters of his visa, The Eagle reported.
He called the university and A&M President Michael K. Young contacted Fatma Marouf, Texas A&M Law School professor and director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic.
Ms Marouf described the behaviour of customs officials as an "extreme response".
"It seems like there's much more rigidity and rigour in enforcing these immigration requirements and the technicalities of every visa", she said, quoted by The Eagle.
The immigration lawyer who helped Rousso get released told The New York Timeswhat happened to Rousso is unusual.
"Thank you so much for your reactions", he said. The courts have stayed the ban, which Trump instituted to prevent terrorist attacks. "My situation was nothing compared to some of the people I saw who couldn't be defended as I was", he subsequently wrote on Twitter.
It's not clear what led to Rousso's detention and near-deportation; Egypt is not among the Muslim-majority countries listed.