DEARBORN —At 7 a.m. on Thursday, March 30, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents detained an Iranian Schoolcraft College student at his apartment in Dearborn.
According to his roommate, the student, Mohammad Salar Fard-Hajian, 24, holds a valid student visa and has been living in the U.S. for three years.
Police said he was housed overnight in a cell at the Dearborn Police Station and then taken away by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on Friday, March 31.
At the time, Dearborn police said they know nothing about the case or where ICE took him.
However, Fard-Hajian later called his roommate, Shayan Shafiei, from Calhoun County Jail in Battle Creek.
Shafiei visited his friend on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he told The AANews that Fard-Hajian is in the main section, no longer in the processing area.
He added that Susan Reed, an attorney with the Michigan Immigration Rights Center, took over his case. The ACLU is also taking action.
But no officials were available to comment.
Shafiei said they still don’t know the reason for Fard-Hajian’s detainment.
“He’s been in jail for six days,” he said. “And no one told him why.”
Shafiei said his counselor from Schoolcraft College called him and said that an ICE agent called her a week before Fard-Hajian’s detainment.
“The agent said that Salar’s case has come on his table,” he said.
On April 5, The National Iranian American Council released a statement addressing Fard-Hajian’s detainment.
“At least two Iranians are currently being held in custody by U.S. immigration authorities: Alia Ghandi and Mohammad Salar Fard-Hajian,” the statement read. “We implore authorities to ensure these individuals have ready access to legal counsel and insist they be promptly released from custody.”
Ghandi is an Iranian citizen who was visiting her sister on a tourist visa. U.S. Immigration enforcement incarcerated her in an Oregon jail.
“It is impossible for us to simply write off all of these events as mere coincidence or misunderstanding in the current climate,” the statement said. “The recent spate of official policies and actions — beginning with President Trump’s first executive order to bar entry for Iranians and nationals of six other countries — are deeply troubling. Coupled with recent incidents of hate directed at Iranians and persons of Middle Eastern descent, including recent reports of graffiti targeting Iranians in Portland and San Francisco, a disturbing trend is emerging.”
At the time of Fard-Hajian’s detainment, the electrical engineering student woke up Shafiei to let him know they were taking him away.
“[He told me] ‘wake up, they’re taking me, they’re detaining me,'” Shafiei told The AANews.
Shafiei thought it was a joke until he heard agents outside his bedroom door. “They cuffed him with shackles… hands and feet,” he said.
Shafiei said Fard-Hajian told him over the phone that Dearborn police said he had to be apprehended because he didn’t update his address on his immigration form after moving from Oregon to Michigan. He said his friend studied in Oregon for one year, but decided to move to Michigan because he wanted to live around his acquaintances.
Fard-Hajian has been living in the state for two years.
“He’s been receiving immigration papers now in Michigan,” Shafiei said. “Therefore, it’s impossible that they did not have his current address.”
Shafiei then visited U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services to see what he can do to help his friend. An official told him he can’t do anything and that Fard-Hajian would be transferred to jail soon.
He said the official told him that Fard-Hajian has to wait for a judge to see his case, which could take from three weeks to a month.
“That’s crazy,” Shafiei told The AANews. “Imagine a person who has never been in a situation like this going to jail.”