A University of Maryland student and her 5-year-old cousin were detained in Washington Dulles International Airport on Saturday night as a result of President Trump’s executive order preventing citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Aida Mohammadi, a 25-year-old green card holder, was returning to the United States from Turkey following a trip to visit relatives with her cousin Artiman Jalali, who was born in the United States but has dual Iranian citizenship, The Washington Post reported Sunday.
Trump’s executive order, signed Friday, bars citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days.
Authorities held Mohammadi, who is studying public health science, for about five hours before releasing her at about 11 p.m. Her cousin, Jalali, was released around midnight, Mohammadi said Tuesday.
Several Maryland politicians have spoken out about Mohammadi’s and Jalali’s detention and criticized Trump’s executive order as xenophobic and un-American. The order also suspends the entry of refugees into the U.S. for 120 days, and bars Syrian refugees from entering the country indefinitely.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) wrote early Sunday morning on Facebook that it was “outrageous that a 5-year-old boy — an American citizen and Maryland resident — was detained for more than 4 hours.”
“He was held despite the fact that we gave the authorities advance notice of his arrival earlier today and, when I called later in the evening, they refused to say whether he had been released or was still in custody,” Van Hollen wrote. “Shame on you, Donald Trump.”
He also took to Twitter on Monday, stating the real threat to the U.S. is the executive order itself.
This 5-yr-old U.S. citizen & Maryland resident is not a threat to our country. Donald Trump’s executive order is. https://t.co/XAECfWEKNx
— Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) January 30, 2017
University President Wallace Loh wrote in a statement Sunday that this university is looking into “assessing how this executive order may affect the students and scholars at our campus who come from these countries” and noted that it is vital that the U.S. “continue[s] to welcome talented individuals of all nations to study, teach, and do research here.”
Students from this university have also expressed frustration with Trump’s order. About 30 university students joined a protest in Washington on Sunday protesting the immigration ban.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s office released a statement Sunday saying that legal counsel is reviewing the order’s implications on the state.
“The implementation and enforcement of immigration law and policy is the sole purview of the federal government,” the statement read. “This administration has and continues to support a strengthened and more clarified vetting processes for those entering the country. Improving our national security can and should be done in a defined and concise manner that upholds our American values.”
This story will be updated following an interview with Mohammadi.
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story, as well as the photo caption, incorrectly stated that Mohammadi returned to the U.S. from Iran. She was coming back from Turkey. This story is now updated.