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Warren denounces immigration officials for denying entry to Iranian students

“On the first day of my administration, I will lift the Muslim ban and I believe that sends a message all across the country,” Warren said during a video conference with The Boston Globe editorial board on Thursday.

Elizabeth Warren goes to shake hands with a supporter at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics Auditorium at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. in December.Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe

Senator Elizabeth Warren on Thursday denounced immigration officials for denying Iranian students entry at Logan Airport and removing one student against a judge’s orders this week. She said their actions were the direct result of President Trump’s policies, which she would reverse immediately, if elected president.

“On the first day of my administration, I will lift the Muslim ban, and I believe that sends a message all across the country,” Warren said during a video conference with The Boston Globe editorial board.

Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein Abadi, a 24-year-old student, was detained by Customs and Border Protection after arriving at Logan Sunday. Though his lawyers filed an emergency petition and a judge ordered a 48-hour stay, he was flown out of the country before a hearing could take place.


Warren challenged the idea that the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agencies are lacking federal oversight or operating without accountability in detaining Iranians.

“I think they have exactly as much oversight as the Trump administration wants them to have and they are doing exactly what the Trump administration wants them to do,” Warren said.

At least three Iranian students have been barred from attending Boston-area schools since September, the Globe reported, and at least 11 students with valid visas have been turned away since August nationwide, according to The New York Times.

Trump’s travel ban, which ignited protests at airports when he announced it three years ago, now restricts immigration from five majority-Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as Venezuela and North Korea. The ban suspended visas to those countries but allowed for exceptions, including for students.

But immigration lawyers told the Globe this week that they are seeing more cases of Iranian students being turned away at Logan. And they asserted that there is growing evidence of CBP ignoring district court orders.


If she is elected president, Warren said, she would reverse course and hold both agencies accountable.

“They are not entitled to break the law and I will make it clear as president where my priorities are,” she said. “And my priorities are not in trying to hang out in neighborhoods and attack families and tear people apart. These are our neighbors and our friends, many of them, who have been terrified by this administration.”

“I will make it clear – and I’m making it clear during my campaign – that when I am president, this will stop,” Warren said.

Warren spoke with the editorial board, which is considering endorsements in the Democratic nomination for president.

The New York Times on Sunday endorsed both Warren and US Senator Amy Klobuchar in the Democratic race for president, calling Warren the most effective advocate of the “radical” approach and Klobuchar the “realist.”

“I thought what a strange way to describe what I fight for,” Warren responded when asked about it.

She said she’s focused her campaign on anti-corruption efforts and tightening up the influence of money.

“Asking your government to work for you — I just frankly don’t think is radical,” she said.

She acknowledged that she’s proposing “big structural change” by introducing a wealth tax to invest in child care, public schools, and post-high-school education.

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at Stephanie.Ebbert@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @StephanieEbbert.