Iranian Scientist Blocked from Flying into Boston is Suing Donald Trump

She has a lawful visa and was to begin tuberculosis research at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Photo by Lisa Weidenfeld

Photo by Lisa Weidenfeld

Samira Asgari, an Iranian scientist who was barred under President Trump’s immigration order from boarding a flight to Boston, filed a lawsuit against Trump, the Department of Homeland Security, and Customs and Border Protection officials on Wednesday, the Boston Globe reported.

The 30 year-old medical researcher, who was scheduled to begin a postdoctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, received a visa on Friday, the same day Trump issued an executive order preventing all immigrants from seven countries, including Iran, from entering the United States. Asgari, unaware of the order, took a Lufthansa Airlines flight on Saturday from Zurich to Frankfurt, where she expected to take a connecting flight to Boston, but was blocked from boarding her flight out of Frankfurt by an individual who identified himself as a representative of the United States. Believing a restraining order issued Sunday by two US federal judges against Trump’s ban would grant her passage, she then booked another flight for Boston that would leave Monday, but was turned away by an airline representative, according to the lawsuit.

Asgari took to Twitter to voice her grievances, writing, “I was pretty excited to join [BWH researcher Soumya Raychaudhuri’s] lab but denied boarding due to my Iranian nationality. Feeling safer?” The post was shared over 11 thousand times.

She’s one of the many foreign nationals with lawful visas who have been prevented from entering the United States under the ban. A hearing on a separate lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts claiming the government has failed to comply with the restraining order issued over the weekend will commence Friday.

Asgari was slated to begin working on research related to the treatment of tuberculosis.