LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — In the shadow of protesters Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport chanting opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order, Mitra Pouyanejad’s protest was personal, heartbroken and terrified.

“Please release them,” said Pouyanejad, who has been waiting more than a day to see her parents. They arrived from Iran on Saturday and were detained by Customs and Border Protection agents for 22 hours.

They were not released until 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Pouyanejad says her parents obtained visitor visas in Germany. They then flew Turkish Airlines to the U.S. for a trip to visit their grandchildren. Older and ailing, she was worried their health was rapidly failing as they were kept at the airport.

“Both of them are diabetic, take lots of medicine, both have heart problem, blood pressure, everything,” Pouyanejad told CBS2 prior to their release.

During the 22 hours in which they were in custody, Pouyanejad said she spoke to them for less than a minute. She was not told where they were being held. Pouyanejad says the Department of Homeland Security will not allow detainees use their own phones. A police officer let her mother use his phone to call her for a few seconds early Sunday morning.

“It’s an outrageous sense of deprivation of humanity,” said Patricia Corrales, a former immigration attorney who was trying to help Pouyanejad get answers.

GALLERY: LAX Protest In Pictures

“Are we gonna keep these individuals like in a Tom Hanks scenario of ‘Terminal?’” Corrales asked. “They’re gonna stay here and live here, for how many days?”

Pouyanejad says her parents had not been to the U.S. in six years. After this trip, she’s not sure how, when, or if they will return.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the CBP to release them.

Comments (4)
  1. Lu Johnson says:

    Ok, waaah. Look, this was expected, there would be a few people enroute as the order was signed. It slowed down a few affected people. They were manually verified and vetted and allowed to go on their way. Get over it. Not every GD thing is a tragedy. There are only a few countries affected by the ban, and over 65 Muslim countries that are not! The Mainstream news doesn’t report this fact, of course, because the truth would work against their leftist narrative.

    The mainstream media keeps calling this a BAN on Muslim immigration… What a misrepresentation. It’s a block from a few well knows nefarious sources of terror.

    So, suck it up, buttercup. We are protecting innocent people in America from those who are trying to hurt us. That is NOT an evil goal. Time to stop whining and just get on with things.

  2. Suibne Geilt says:


  3. Kate Harton says:

    Meanwhile, back in Iran, “Iran is stocking up on American hostages again”

    “Tehran this week arrested yet another US citizen and plans to place him on trial — though on what charges, it won’t say.

    Though government officials refused to confirm his name, the detainee is almost certainly Reza “Rohin” Shahini, an Iranian-American student reported missing this month while visiting his sick mother in the city of Gorgan.

    He’s the third Iranian-American (on top of four dual-nationality visitors from Canada, Britain and France) taken into custody since January, when Tehran freed several US captives in exchange for Iranians imprisoned here for real crimes.

    And we still don’t know the whereabouts of former FBI agent Robert Levinson, captured in Iran in 2007 and last seen in a 2010 video in which he pleaded for help.”


    Pretty sure they would be happy to be released after 22 grueling hours at LAX. Why, many people are stranded there longer when the computers go down at United or a blizzard shuts down O’Hare.

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