A young Iranian man, Abdollah Mehran, whom we first wrote about in our Nov. 12, 2001, issue when he was 28 years old, is still in America and the federal government is still trying to deport him. Mehran said he came here to escape persecution in his home country but could not substantiate his claims in order to gain asylum. He did have one major piece of credibility, however: He turned himself in as an illegal alien not once but twice.
Ever since, federal immigration authorities have been trying to expel Mehran from the country but have been unable to obtain a final legal ruling to do so despite the risks posed by some in Mehran’s demographic — young male Muslim immigrants. Currently, he is not in detention but lives with an American friend while continuing to fight his case.
“I am going to keep fighting my case,” said Mehran last week. “I understand people are worried after 9/11 but this is unfair. They keep trying to send me out. I didn’t come here to go to bars and dance with girls, I came here for freedom.”
In the 2001 article, Mehran said that he got into trouble with the Iranian authorities for playing Western musical instruments, participating in pro-democracy activities, and reading The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, who was famously sentenced to death by Ayatollah Khomeini. “I didn’t know at the time that the death sentence applied to readers of the book [also]. . .,” said Mehran in 2001. “If I go back to Iran, I believe I will be arrested, tortured, and killed.”
Mehran said last week that he is relying on the charity of Americans who have helped him since he has been unable to hold down a job. “I had two jobs but not now,” he said.