United States

Iranian Passenger on Cruise Detained at Port Everglades

An Iranian passenger on a cruise returning to Port Everglades from Mexico said that he was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on Sunday morning.

Maysam Sodagari, 32, said he left the port with legal status and has been posting updates of his detention on Facebook. He was released Sunday afternoon.

Sodagari said the vetting process was thorough and he had to provide background information about himself, family, and his past life in Iran.

"While I found the entire experience slightly disappointing, as I now have permanent legal status, I must say that I was treated fairly and with respect by CBP and would like to thank them for their professionalism," he said.

Sodagari was born in Iran and moved to the United States in 2008 on a student visa. He received his doctorate from the University of Akron and moved to San Francisco where he works as a researcher in bio-technology.

Sodagari said he received his green card in 2015 after a long vetting process.

On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order including a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.

The immediate fallout from Trump's order originally meant that an untold number of foreign-born U.S. residents now traveling outside the U.S. could be stuck overseas for at least 90 days — despite holding permanent residency "green cards" or other visas.

But on Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the executive order barring immigration from select countries will not extend to green card holders going forward.

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