PORTLAND, Ore. – An Iranian woman who was detained by immigration officials at the Portland International Airport in March has been released on parole.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official told KGW that 29-year-old Alia Ghandi was released May 2, pending the resolution of her request for asylum.
Ghandi originally traveled to Oregon with a valid visa to visit her sister, Leila Ahranjani, on March 29. Ghandi was denied entry at the airport and sent to a correctional facility in The Dalles, awaiting a flight back to Iran. ICE officials did not specify why Ghandi was detained.
Since Ghandi was jailed in the U.S., she feared she could be punished if she returned to Iran. She applied for asylum in early April, after she was moved to ICE’s Tacoma Northwest Detention Center.
The Executive Office of Immigration Review is considering Ghandi’s request for asylum.
Ghandi’s request could take months, and there is about a 50-50 chance her request will be denied, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman.
“It’s a risky procedure for the traveler because if the petition is denied, there may be adverse consequences,” said Jaime Ruiz of CBP.
The ACLU of Oregon has advocated for Ghandi’s release.
Ghandi’s family has not spoken publicly since she was detained. KGW reached out to Ghandi’s lawyer and her family for a statement.