Foad Farahi is just one of many people caught between the political crosscurrents of nationhood, xenophobia and the Bush-led “war on terror.” He came here on a student visa and when it expired, he sought political asylum from persecution in Iran for being a Sunni Muslim, reports the Miami New Times. The FBI asked him twice to become a secret informant in exchange for residency. Both times he refused. The FBI came back at him with force. They tried to deport him by making false links between him and alleged terrorist operations in Florida. In 2007, he was given an ultimatum by a Florida immigration judge and ICE: leave the country voluntarily or we'll charge you as a terrorist. Farahi opted to leave the country voluntarily. After trying to fight the voluntary departure and reopen his political asylum case at the US Supreme Court of Appeals, Farahi has still not been approved for political asylum. From the Miami New Times:
For now, the legal battle makes Farahi a kind of no-land's man. He no longer has an official immigration status in the United States, and in asking for political asylum, he has rejected his Iranian citizenship. As he was in Kuwait, Farahi is home in a land that could expel him at any time. "I think the real issue is, does the government have the right to pressure people... to make them informants?" Kurzban [Farahi's lawyer] says. "It's clearly modus operandi of the FBI to (a) recruit people who are going to be informants and (b) to use whatever leverage they can."
Read the rest of the Miami New Times article here. Foad Farahi pictured above. Photo taken by C.Stiles for the Miami New Times.