Iranian Man Barred From Entry Under Trump's Order Lands Back At LAX
On Thursday afternoon, Ali Vayeghan landed back at Los Angeles International Airport after being refused entry and deported under President Trump's immigration ban—Vayeghan is the first traveler to reenter the U.S. after being turned away under the ban.
The 52-year-old Iranian man had arrived in Los Angeles from Tehran just after 7 p.m. on Friday. His gathered family, including his brother, Hossein Vayghan (who spells his last name differently than Ali's), and his niece, Marjan Vayghan, waited at the airport until 3 a.m. that night. Vayeghan was held overnight before being refused entry and put on a plane to Dubai, United Arab Emirates at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, according to the L.A. Times.
Lawyers from the ACLU worked through the weekend to try and help Vayeghan. They were able to obtain the necessary paperwork to secure his release on Saturday, but it arrived about 45 minutes too late, according to the L.A. Times. Next, Vayeghan waited in an airport in Dubai (he was being deported back to Iran via Dubai) while attorneys rushed to get an order from a judge demanding his return to the U.S. Again, the lawyers succeeded, and again relief came slightly too late. U.S. District Court Judge Dolly M. Gee granted the ACLU's request on Sunday afternoon, issuing a temporary restraining order requiring Vayeghan be returned to the U.S. However, by the time the ruling came through, Vayeghan was already on a plane from Dubai to Iran.
Gee's ruling "is one of the most aggressive actions a federal judge has taken against the executive order," according to the New York Times.
"This was a case for one person, but people across the country suffered similar treatment," Peter Bibring, a lawyer representing Vayeghan for the ACLU of Southern California, told the New York Times. “It demonstrates that the valid visa holders who were removed this weekend should be returned."
Vayeghan landed at LAX just after 12:45 p.m. on Thursday. Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Vayeghan family, the ACLU, and other nonprofit lawyers waited to greet him after holding a press conference at the airport. The ACLU is live streaming Vayeghan's return here.
Ali Vayeghan (left) with niece Marjan Vayghan (middle) and Mayor Eric Garcetti (right). (Photo by Julia Wick)