A British teacher on a school field trip was escorted off an Icelandair flight to New York as 39 students looked on in shock.
“As I was making my way out of the plane I looked back at the kids to tell them everything was going to be okay. The look I got off the kids, they were shocked, they couldn’t believe what was happening. This is when I felt like I was a criminal,” Juhel Miah, a math teacher at Llangatwg Comprehensive School in Wales told CNN.
Miah, 25, was one of four school staff accompanying the children, aged 12-15, on a trip to New York, that included a one-night stopover in Reykjavik, Iceland
Miah, who is Muslim, was born in Birmingham, England, and grew up in Swansea, Wales. The trip was due to be his first visit to the US. He was traveling on his British passport with a US visitor’s visa, he told CNN. Miah is not a citizen of any other country
“It all started when I met the first official. I gave her my passport. My first name is Mohammad. Straight away she looked at me and said you have been randomly selected for a security check,” Miah told CNN.
After a brief search, Miah was allowed to board the plane. But shortly after that, he was informed he had been denied entry to the US and wouldn’t be able to travel.
“I asked her on what ground was I denied access. I got my ESTA [US visitor’s] visa, I have a British passport, I ticked all the rights boxes. She did not give me an answer,” he said.
Icelandair told CNN, “We refused carriage to Mr. Miah based on a recommendation from the US Customs and Border Protection Agency and line with our conditions of carriage.”
The school trip proceeded but the teacher’s removal from the flight left students “shocked and distressed,” the school district said in a statement. The students, aged 12-15, returned from the US on Monday.
Miah returned to the United Kingdom the following day