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Recent Clemson grad denied entry into the U.S., Clemson community responds

Photo courtesy of Parastoo Amiri via AP
Clemson Ph.D. grad Nazanin Zinouri

Photo courtesy of Parastoo Amiri via AP

Clemson Ph.D. grad and data modeler Nazanin Zinouri has been disallowed entry in the U.S.
This comes shortly after an executive order signed by President Trump. The order banned citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the U.S. within the next 90 days. The countries include Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
“I normally don’t write long posts or any kind of political or religious comments …” Zinouri wrote in a Facebook post made on Saturday afternoon. “But today I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.”
On Zinouri’s Facebook, the former Tiger detailed her story of returning home to visit her family in Iran on Jan. 22.
“We were all happy. I was going to eat lots of delicious Persian food and make tons of great memories and go back to my life in the US.”
However, with the news of President Trump’s plans for immigration reform, Zinouri had some anxieties.
“On Wednesday, we started hearing rumors about new executive orders that will change immigration rules for some countries including Iran. Soon we started reading drafts like everyone else. I might be banned from going back?!?! [sic] No that can’t be true.”
Booking a flight to leave her family early, Zinouri made it to her flight in Dubai within the United Arab Emirates before learning that she would not be returning to South Carolina.
“After waiting in the line to get my documents checked and after 40 minutes of questions and answers, I boarded the plane to Washington, only to have two TSA officers getting in and ask me to disembark the plane!!! Yes after almost 7 years of living the the United States, I got deported!!! [sic],” Zinouri wrote.
Zinouri’s post has received over 169,000 shares and 153,000 reactions as of Jan. 29.
Students, faculty and the Twitterverse alike took to social media to express their discontent over Zinouri’s retention.
“The #MuslimBan affects people like Nazanin Zinouri, an award-winning #Clemson grad. She’s trapped overseas. Her life is in the U.S.,” wrote user @EllenMeny on Twitter.
Twitter user @TheYumDiary addressed South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham for assistance, writing “@LindseyGrahamSC #Clemson PhD removed from her plane home to #GVL. Valid docs, lived in SC 7 yrs. HAS A PUPPY. #NazaninZinouri @ClemsonUniv.”
Just hours later, a Brooklyn federal judge then issued an emergency stay. This allowed those with green cards who were in transit or already within American borders to remain in the country.
However, in an email sent to the Greenville News, Zinouri said that this ruling would not apply to her.
“Those trapped in the airports are free now. Bad news is no airline will board any Iranian on any plane heading to the U.S. So there’s still no way for me to return,” Zinouri wrote.
Since Zinouri’s Facebook post went global, Clemson President James Clements addressed the community through email regarding Trump’s executive order.
“Our international students, faculty and staff are important members of our university community. We will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation and keep the university community updated as more information becomes available,” Clements said.
Clements also advised those in the Clemson community on what to do if they could be affected by the order.
“For those faculty, staff, and students who could potentially be affected by this Executive Order, we would advise that you defer any travel outside of the U.S. for the time being if at all possible.”
The response to Clements email was mixed.
Twitter user @dcgreen97 wrote “@ClemsonPrez You should run for President of the US!” while @AndreF91 said “@ClemsonPrez your statement about the presidential EO was inadequate & disappointing. I hope you would speak up 4 all of our #ClemsonFamily.”
Some have decided to take action, with a former student planning to host a round table with administration Jan. 30 at 2 p.m.
At the time this was written, Zinouri has not been allowed entry in the U.S. More updates will follow as available.

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