LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An Iranian man who was barred from entering the United States under President Donald Trump’s travel ban — even though he had a valid visa — arrived back in Los Angeles Thursday.
Ali Vayeghan walked into Terminal 2 at Los Angeles International Airport at about 1:30 p.m., making him the first person to return to the U.S. as a result of court action since Trump’s travel ban took effect. The president’s executive order restricted travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran.
Vayeghan originally arrived at LAX last Friday, but never emerged from customs. Anxious family members waited hours, and by Saturday, they had partnered with the ACLU and immigration attorney Stacy Tolchin, who obtained court papers needed to secure his release Saturday.
But before he could be released, Vayeghan was put on a plane to Dubai at 3:15 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee issued an order instructing federal officials to transport Vayeghan from Dubai and admit him to the U.S. under the terms of his visa. She reasoned that Vayeghan would face “irreparable harm” if deported to Iran.
Vayeghan was greeted by his brother and other relatives at the airport, along with Mayor Eric Garcetti and a swarm of television cameras and reporters.
Garcetti has been an outspoken critic of the travel ban.
With his family interpreting for him, Vayeghan thanked his supporters, saying “this is humanity, this is what human rights looks like.”
His sister excitedly said her brother “is just in shock and in awe and he’s so grateful. And he can’t believe the mayor of Los Angeles is here.”
A federal judge in Los Angeles Wednesday ordered immigration officials to allow immigrants with valid visas into the country. New York’s attorney general on Thursday joined the federal lawsuit challenging the president’s executive order.
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