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Northeastern Student Detained At Logan Airport Has Been Deported

BOSTON (CBS) – A Northeastern University student detained at Logan Airport has been deported despite a judge's order. The ACLU of Massachusetts confirmed that Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein Abadi was deported to France overnight before his immigration hearing in Boston Tuesday morning.

Abadi is studying economics at Northeastern. He's been studying in Boston for two years, but was stuck at home in Iran in December 2018 after visiting his family as he waited for his student visa to be renewed.

Judge Richard Stearns said during a brief hearing Tuesday morning there's nothing he can do now that Abadi has been deported.

Abadi's attorney, Susan Church, told WBZ he was detained starting Sunday night despite having a legal F1 Student Visa, as he tried to get back to school – and says she doesn't know why.

Attorney Kerry Doyle said he was given the visa after a yearlong review. "So he's been a year in security checks," Doyle said. "He was cleared and he showed up at Boston port of entry on Sunday to return to Northeastern University."

Shahab Abadi
Shabab Dehghani (WBZ-TV)

WBZ asked Customs and Border Patrol about Abadi's case, and the agency responded with a statement saying, in part, "We are not at liberty to discuss an individual's processing due to the Privacy Act. CBP officers are charged with enforcing not only immigration and customs laws, but they also enforce over 400 laws for 40 other agencies and have stopped thousands of violators of U.S. law."

When word of Abadi's detainment got around, nearly 100 Iranian-Americans, Iranian born students, and allies showed up to Logan Airport's International Arrivals terminal, demanding that CBP release Abadi. They chanted "Students' dreams matter" and "Let him in."

On Tuesday, supporters protested his deportation outside federal court in Boston. "I think it's horrible that people are being deported he's a student goes to our school," said Zoey Dukach, a Northeastern student.

"He's a very nice guy, very kind and friendly," said MIT Student Amir Tohidi. "I can imagine I could have been in his place. It's really hard you organize, you plan for your future, you leave everything behind at home your family. It's a hard decision to make."

Shahab Abadi
Demonstrators protest at Logan Airport as Northeastern University student was nearly deported (WBZ-TV)

His attorneys, supported by the ACLU, had filed an emergency lawsuit to ensure his stay in the U.S. temporarily. They plan to follow up with the judge who originally granted the student a hearing.

"What we don't know is whether this is coming from the Trump administration, from the top, or whether this is a rogue Customs and Border Patrol agent working at Logan Airport who has decided that they're going to take the law into their own hands," the ACLU's Carol Rose said. "Unfortunately he wasn't given his day in court today because they put him on a plane and took him out of the country."

Northeastern said it has been in touch with federal officials to try and bring Abadi back.

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