After a 5-year-old Iranian-born boy — an American citizen — was detained and reportedly held for five hours at Washington’s Dulles airport amid Donald Trump’s Muslim-nation immigration ban, White House officials spoke out and said the adolescent may have been a “security threat” to the United States.
The controversial incident took place on Saturday, amid the chaos and protests that sprung up in the wake of Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. The boy, who was not identified by name, was one of more than 100 people detained in the wake of Trump’s travel ban, the Mirror reported. A number of reports including the Mirror claimed that the boy was handcuffed, though there is no independent verification of this claim.
The plight of the 5-year-old who was allegedly “handcuffed” and detained sparked immediate protest, especially after Senator Chris Van Hollen identified the boy as a U.S. citizen who lives with his family in Maryland. But the case grew even more controversy on Monday when Donald Trump’s administration defended the boy’s detainment, saying he still could have posed a national security threat.
“To assume that just because of someone’s age and gender that they don’t pose a threat would be misguided and wrong,” said Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
As WJLA reported, the boy had been traveling with a family member and his Iranian mother was waiting for him at the airport.
The boy had been traveling with another family member on a flight and his mother, who is from Iran, had to wait for hours until he was released to her. A news crew captured the dramatic moments as the mother waited anxiously, and finally was reunited with the boy. The video showed the boy clutching his mother tightly after he was finally released.
The plight of the 5-year-old boy who was reportedly detained for five hours at Dulles airport was one of the most iconic examples in a weekend filled with protest and confusion. Senator Van Hollen helped draw national attention to the boy’s plight with a Facebook post that also blasted Donald Trump.
“It is outrageous that a 5 year old boy — an American citizen and Maryland resident — was detained for more than 4 hours this evening at Dulles airport. 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. Shame on you, Donald Trump. And thank goodness for the federal judge who upheld the rule of law and temporarily blocked the implementation of Trump’s removal order. We must remain vigilant and fight back.”
The boy’s mother also worked with local officials to have her son released, reportedly pleading with Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to help the boy.
Trump’s Muslim-majority country immigration ban sparked protests across the nation, with thousands gathering at airports in New York, Los Angeles, and across more than a dozen American cities. A host of civil rights groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, have also challenged Trump in court and say they plan to continue fighting against the measure.
Though the outrage over Donald Trump’s Muslim-majority country immigration ban has not died down, it appears that the story of the 5-year-old boy who was reportedly detained at Dulles airport has a happy ending. The boy is now back with his family after the long battle for his release on Saturday.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]