Nazanin Zinouri recently earned her PhD in industrial engineering from Clemson University. She was also awarded the 2016 Janine Anthony Bowen Graduate Fellow award at Clemson which recognizes outstanding academic performance.
But she got stuck at Dubai International Airport where she was taken off a plane headed for home earlier Saturday.
In an email Sunday morning, Zinouri said, "those trapped in the airports are free now. Bad news is no airline will board any Iranian on any plane heading to the U.S. So there's still no way for me to return."
Upstate Coalition for Equality has planned a protest for 4 p.m. Sunday at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. The Facebook event is titled, "Greenville Welcomes Immigrants & Refugees."
Zinouri flew to Iran Jan. 20 to visit her family. When rumors began to fly on Wednesday about a new Trump administration executive order blocking immigrants from several Middle eastern countries, including Iran, she rushed to buy a ticket back to Greenville.
“Only a few hours after the order was signed, I got to the airport, got on a plane and made it Dubai. After waiting in line to get my documents checked and after 40 minutes of questions and answers, I boarded the plane to Washington, only to have two TSA officers getting in and ask me to disimbark the plane!!!” she wrote on a facebook post.
"Yes after almost 7 years of living (in) the United States, I got deported."
Friends have taken up her case on twitter and are urging Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott to help.
Late Saturday, a federal judge stayed the Trump immigration order as protests disrupted activities at several airports including Dallas Fort Worth and JFK International Airport in New York.
The Greenville News contributed.