• Customs and Border Protection halt bus; call documented comedian ‘illegal’

    Portland-based comedian Mohanad Elshieky may not have been famous before Sunday, but according to his Twitter account, “Now the whole country knows that I’m a broke ass comedian who can only afford to ride smelly Greyhound buses.”

    Elshieky, originally from Benghazi, posted a dozen tweets yesterday about his harrowing experience dealing with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents on a bus ride from Spokane to Portland.

    Based on his Twitter timeline, Elshieky performed at Washington State University over the weekend and joked that he “bombed so hard.”

    Customs and Border Protection boards bus, harass immigrant comedian

    He then tweeted about his trip back to Portland on the budget-friendly bus line. Initially, he claimed that ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents had boarded the bus, but he later clarified that they were actually CBP agents. Later, the agents asked him and a few others to step outside. He was then interrogated for about 20 minutes and accused of having fake papers and being “illegal.”

    Per his tweets, the comic explained to the agents that his documentation was legal and he had been granted asylum in the U.S.

    Elshieky stated that the agents then called immigration authorities. The comic tweeted that even though he heard the person on the other end of the phone say that he is here legally, the agent told him there was no record of his asylum. He then said that agents finally returned his documents after he threatened legal action. He also posted pictures of the agents and his bus ticket.

    After the ordeal, Elshieky tweeted that, “I have never felt as terrible as I did today.”

    According to The Washington Post, border agents have been conducting “routine” bus checks for several years. Amidst U.S. President Donald Trump’s stern support of border protection, it is no surprise that Elshieky has received some negative responses to his story. On Monday afternoon, he tweeted, “Stop sending me hate mail….because you’re not gonna break me fools.”

    Mohanad Elshieky gets support from politicians

    Despite some of the negativity, Elshieky confirmed via social media that he still views the U.S. as his home. He also tweeted today that he appreciated “everyone’s kindness and support.”

    Political activist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez replied with a supportive tweet, “One of these days, I hope people realize that the idea that ICE should be scrapped isn’t so crazy after all.” The freshman congresswoman continued, “ICE jails children in for-profit detention centers funded by private equity grps. Kids are dying w/o accountability. If that’s not totally broken, I don’t know what is.”

    Spokane District 1 City Councilwoman Kate Burke even tweeted an apology to the comedian. She stated that the City Council had passed an ordinance to prevent harassment of this kind, but that the local mayor had not executed the law.

    On Monday afternoon, Elshieky explained in a now-deleted tweet that he’s “just a stand up comedian who had a bad experience and shared it.” Elshieky further tweeted (and deleted) that he is not accepting interview requests, but he is accepting offers to write for late night shows.

    Mary Stevens

    Mary Stevens is a stand-up comedy enthusiast. She is a huge fan of live stand-up comedy and produces a show in her backyard in Hermosa Beach, CA. Her show has featured comics from Netflix, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime and SNL, as well as up-and-coming comics. She is active on Twitter and Instagram @hermosabchmary.

    WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien