Cornell University Law School professor Stephen Yale-Loehr, co-author of a 21-volume immigration law treatise, offers the following comments on recent reports that some Iranian students with valid visas are being denied entry to the United States:
“According to news reports, at least 10 Iranian students have been turned away since August at airports across the country despite having valid visas. And earlier this month, many U.S. citizens of Iranian descent were questioned for hours trying to return to the United States from Canada.
We seem doomed to repeat past mistakes. For example, we now realize that interning U.S. citizens of Japanese descent during World War II was a mistake. Congress even passed a law in 1988 apologizing for the internments and making reparations. Similarly, detaining people of Muslim descent after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and making them go through special registration procedures failed to yield any significant results in finding and deterring other terrorists. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.’
The U.S. State Department already thoroughly vets all applicants before issuing visas. There is no need for immigration inspectors to deny entry to people with proper visas simply because they are from Iran. These actions needlessly increase tensions with Iran.”
Yale-Loehr can be reached directly at 607-379-9707 or SWY1@cornell.edu to further discuss the situation.