A prominent French historian and Holocaust expert set to speak at a Texas A&M University conference was detained at Houston's airport and almost deported in the latest snafu involving U.S. immigration agents.
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. While Customs and Border Protection officials have stayed mum, a $2,000 honorarium due to Rousso appears to have been a source of confusion, the New York Times reports.
Mr Rousso has written extensively about Holocaust-era France and is now a senior researcher at one of France's largest public research institutes.
When the immigration officer discovered he would be receiving a fee for his keynote address at Texas A&M University, he ordered him to be deported, claiming he should have a working visa rather than a tourist visa.
The academic claimed he was then subjected to "extensive questioning", fingerprinting and a body search, before being told he would be deported on the next plane to Paris.
As they let him through the police said that the official who stopped him was "inexperienced" and was unaware that activities connected to teaching and research could be carried out with an ordinary tourist visa. Rousso was legally traveling to the United States as a French citizen.
"It seems like there's much more rigidity and rigor in enforcing these immigration requirements and the technicalities of every visa", said Marouf, who helped author an amicus brief earlier this month against President Donald Trump's executive order banning entry to refugees and to travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The Egyptian-born Jewish scholar, a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, is a specialist on French World War Two history.
However he said his situation was "nothing compared to some of the people I saw who couldn't be defended as I was".
"It is now necessary to deal with the utmost arbitrariness and incompetence on the other side of the Atlantic", Rousso wrote, according to a translation by The Washington Post.
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