LOS ANGELES (KABC) --An Iranian citizen who was barred from entering the U.S. and sent back to Iran following President Donald Trump's travel ban returned to Los Angeles on Thursday and was reunited with his family.
Attorneys for Ali Vayeghan said he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport last Friday from Tehran - only to be detained overnight by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and removed from the country.
The shopkeeper from Tehran had a valid visa and is eligible for citizenship. He is the only traveler who has been allowed to return as a result of a court action.
His family held a press conference around noon, describing their emotional experience of finding out Ali Vayeghan was not allowed to enter the U.S.
"We were waiting for him and he didn't come out," his brother Hossein Vayeghan said.
His family happened to meet lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union and were willing to pay anything to get their loved one into the country.
"I had $5,000 in cash in my pocket if needed," Hossein Vayeghan said. "He said, You don't need it, we won't charge you.'"
Ali Vayeghan arrived at Tom Bradley International Terminal around 1 p.m and was greeted by family, friends and local officials.
"This is humanity, this is what human rights looks like and I'm shocked and honored by it," Ali Vayeghan said as a family member translated for him.
Among those on hand to greet Ali Vayeghan was Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
"Today isn't just about laws, it's about love," Garcetti said.
The ACLU said questions still remained about how many people were detained without access to legal representation before being deported.
"Many people when they got to the airport and they were interrogated and detained were actually forced to sign over their visas and voluntarily choose to self-deport in essence," Hector Villagra with ACLU Southern California said.
Ali Vayeghan is now weighing if he wants to become a U.S. citizen.