SPOKANE, WA (CelebrityAccess) — Comedian Mohanad Elshieky on Monday claimed that he was wrongfully detained by Federal Border Patrol agents while he was returning to his home in Portland, Oregon after a gig in Spokane.
In a series of Tweets, Elshieky, who is Libyan and in the U.S. after being granted asylum, claims he was pulled off of a bus and questioned about his immigration status.
“They walked around before they asked me and few others to step outside and took my documents and interrogated me for around 20 mins then claimed my papers were fake and that I’m ‘illegal,'” Elshieky tweeted on Monday.
“I explained to them that I was granted Asylum here in the United States, and that the work permit they currently hold and the license are impossible to get unless your presence here is legal,” Elshieky added. “They told me that I was lying and these could pretty much be falsified.”
He went to say that the agents contacted an immigration official to confirm Elsheiky’s documentation, but he alleged the agents ignored the affirmative answer from that official.
“They got on the phone with immigration and gave them my name and document number and I can hear the person on the end of the line saying that yes they can see my name and yes, I entered the country legally,” Elsheiky claimed.
“The ICE agent ended the call and then said “there are no records of your Asylum” and I again said that was impossible. Then said I should have my Asylum approval on me which is ridiculous, why would I carry that where I have my IDs,” he continued.
He was later released after being admonished for not having proper documentation, he said.
While Elsheiky initially identified the agents as members of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency, he was later corrected by Twitter users that the officers actually with Customs & Border Protection.
“To be honest, I have never felt as terrible as I did today. I have never imagined that I would have to go through this,” Elsheiky tweeted. “It was another reminder that even though I have been here for 5 years working my ass off, I was still considered “Other” and I have never felt as alone as I did in that station full of people.”
A rep for CPB confirmed that Elsheiky had been detained, telling CBS News via email: “Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol’s Spokane Station encountered an individual on Sunday at the Spokane Intermodal Bus Station who was not in possession of the immigration documents required by law.”
“While performing transportation checks, agents made contact with Mohanad Elshieky. Mr. Elshieky stated he was from Libya and presented the agents with an Oregon driver’s license and an Employment Authorization Card (EAD),” the statement read. “As with anyone who needs to have their immigration status verified, Mr. Elshieky was asked to exit the bus. After the approximately 20 minutes needed to verify his status, Mr. Elshieky was allowed to board the bus and continue his travels without delay,” the statement said.
Since he first tweeted about the apparent violation of Elsheiky’s Fourth Amendment rights, the story went viral, attracting thousands of comments and retweets. Among them was Freshman congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who replied “One of these days, I hope people realize that the idea that ICE should be scrapped isn’t so crazy after all. ICE jails children in for-profit detention centers funded by private equity grps. Kids are dying w/ 0 accountability. If that’s not totally broken, I don’t know what is.”