Ali Vayeghan, a green card holder deported from the US last Friday due to Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, flew back home to LAX yesterday to cheers.
According to the LA Times, “Vayeghan’s successful return was the result of a federal judge’s emergency ruling overturning the government’s decision to ban him, making Vayeghan the first person denied entry to be allowed into the country after a legal challenge to the White House’s executive order.”
Greeting Vayeghan as he arrived at LAX were his overjoyed relatives, as well as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and a throng of reporters. Supporters surrounded the gate and serenaded Vayeghan and his family with “This Land Is Your Land”.
The LA Times:
Asked how he felt, he responded in Persian, which was translated by his niece: “This is what humanity looks like. This is what human rights looks like. I am shocked, honored and awed.”
As noted in the video, his niece credits the massive, national demonstrations at airports and other places for helping publicize and advance Vayeghan’s case.
Vayeghan, a father of three, first arrived Friday night, shortly after President Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran.
He was on his way to Indiana to see his son for the first time in 12 years but was stopped and held overnight.
Officials pressured him to sign a document rescinding his green card, his lawyers said. They allegedly told him refusal to sign might bar him from the U.S. permanently.
Lawyers quickly learned of his case and rushed to a judge for intervention. They got a court order for his release, but border officials placed him on a flight to Dubai less than an hour before they were served the paperwork Saturday afternoon, his family said.
Peter Bibring with the ACLU in Los Angeles and other attorneys went back to federal court Sunday and won a follow-up order demanding Vayeghan’s safe return.
The order by U.S. District Court judge Dolly Gee is one of the most aggressive rulings issued by a federal judge in the wake of the travel ban.
Judge Gee wrote that Vayeghan’s rejection likely violated his right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution and the Immigration and Nationality Act.
In her order, she said the Constitution ensures “no person shall receive any preference or priority or be discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of a person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.”
“As many as 60 foreign nationals were deported last weekend as part of President Donald Trump’s new immigration order after being coerced into giving up their visas or green cards upon arriving in the US, a new lawsuit alleges,” with numerous states and San Francisco joining in lawsuits again Trump over the ban. Advocates are now hoping the story of Vayeghan’s return back home to the US is just the first of many.
6 days after being detained at LAX then sent back to Iran under Trump’s EO, Ali Vayeghan becomes 1st allowed back in after legal challenge. pic.twitter.com/NqzWDjokbj
— Kim Baldonado (@KimNBCLA) February 3, 2017