A NASA employee was detained at an airport by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). During his attempt to re-enter the U.S., officials reportedly forced him to hand over his phone and access code. His phone contains highly- confidential NASA information.
The said employee was identified as Sidd Bikkannavar. He has worked for NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) for almost a decade. He just returned from South America on a personal trip because he had pursued his hobby of racing solar-powered cars. He was confident that he can return without any hassle because he is enrolled in the Global Entry program. This program allows citizens to have expedited entry into the country after a process of background checks.
The incident happened at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport at the advent of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban against seven majority-Muslim countries. As a scientist, Bikkannavar is an expert on optics technology. He would have contributed to the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope. According to RT, he was escorted by an officer to a room where he was told to wait for instructions. There were five people in the same room sleeping in cots.
On the other hand, The Times of India published that the young researcher posted a statement on Facebook. He cleared that he is a US-born citizen and NASA engineer who travels with a valid US passport. He also recalled how customs officers took his phone and the access PIN.
Experts have already warned that the implementation of the Trump Immigration Ban will take a toll on US hospitals. Ford Vox, a physician-journalist specializing in rehabilitation medicine, expressed great concern that the ban implemented by US President Donald Trump against seven majority-Muslim countries will take a detrimental impact on the country’s American health care especially that a plurality of medical specialists are migrants.