An Iranian father with a valid visa who got caught up in the Trump Administration’s Muslim-country executive order ban arrived in Los Angeles only to be immediately sent back to Iran via Dubai.
But a federal judge has now ruled that the man be allowed to return to Los Angeles.
The abortive reunion between Ali Vayeghan and his relatives in the United States, including his son, an American citizen, had been 12 years in the making, according to the Los Angeles Times. Vayeghan was to fly to LAX, then make his way to Indiana to see his son. He was also to reunite with his wife, who arrived in the U.S. four months ahead of him.
Instead, Vayeghan was ensnared by President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration, held at Los Angeles International Airport for hours, then deported to Iran by way of Dubai, The Times reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California intervened, petitioning the courts to release him. On Sunday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee issued an order instructing authorities to transport Vayeghan from Dubai to the U.S. — an infrequently used but not unprecedented legal remedy — and admit him under the terms of his visa, which is set to expire in February, The Times reported.
Citing the “irreparable harm” Vayeghan would face, Gee ruled that his attorneys had showed a strong likelihood of successfully arguing that his deportation violated federal law. But by then, Vayeghan was on a plane bound for Tehran.
Vayeghan was set to land at 7:15 p.m. Friday but never emerged from customs, his niece, Marjan Vayghan of West Los Angeles, told The Times. The family waited at LAX until after 3 a.m. Saturday. Attorneys were not allowed to meet with him, the ACLU reported.
The ACLU and L.A.-based immigration attorney Stacy Tolchin stepped in, filing a habeas corpus petition on Saturday and the legal aid organization published a copy of the petition online. Attorneys argued that Trump executive order violated Vayeghan due process and was hostile to a specific religion, Islam, putting it at odds with the 1st Amendment establishment clause.
The lawyers secured the necessary paperwork for his release, but it arrived about 45 minutes too late. Vayeghan was put on a plane to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates at 3:15 p.m.Saturday, The Times reported. The family spoke to him by phone after he landed in Dubai, where he was waiting to be put on a flight to Tehran.
“He was literally crying in the airport in Dubai, his niece said.
The order from Gee, the federal judge, came down Sunday afternoon and called for Vayeghan to be transported back to the U.S. The future of that ruling is uncertain this morning.
—City News Service