Published: Tue, February 28, 2017
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Holocaust Expert Detained, Nearly Deported at US Airport

An Egyptian-born French Jewish scholar was held for hours and almost deported from the United States after he landed in Houston to attend a conference at a Texas university.

He told the online outlet that he was interrogated by border officials after they were not satisfied by his tourist visa or the invitation from Texas A&M University.

After a border agent at George Bush Intercontinental Airport told him he was conducting a random check, Rousso was eventually questioned and detained for 10 hours, despite having a valid passport and visa.

Mr Golsan immediately contacted university officials to enlist the help of law professor and director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Fatma Marouf, who led the team that succeeded in securing Mr Rousso's eventual release.

"I have been detained 10 hours at Houston International Airport about to be deported", Mr Rousso, 62, confirmed in a tweet on Saturday.

He said he was unsure of the reasons behind his detention or the "zeal" of the officer who arrested him.

"In the past, I had not seen anything like that happening", Marouf said.

"It seems like there's much more rigidity and rigor in enforcing these immigration requirements and technicalities of every visa", she told The Eagle, a paper that covers the College Station area. "My situation was nothing compared to some of the people I saw who couldn't be defended as I was".

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President Donald Trump has pledged to tighten U.S. border controls.

"Thank you so much for your reactions", the historian wrote on Twitter.

The ban was later overturned by a USA federal court.

Last month, President Trump issued an executive order imposing a temporary entry ban for citizens of seven Muslim majority countries, although the list did not include Egypt.

Rousso is a senior researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, one of France's largest public research institutes.

He has spoken over the years at several prominent USA universities as well as the Holocaust Memorial Museum in the U.S. capital, and was a visiting professor at Texas A&M in 2007, according to his online profile.

He was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1954, but his family was expelled from Egypt two years later.

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