Henry Rousso was detained for 10 hours.

By Jess McHugh
Updated: February 27, 2017
Casey E Martin/Getty Images

Authorities wrongfully detained a French Jewish Holocaust scholar at the Houston international airport earlier this month and nearly deported him.

Henry Rousso, who specializes in the Nazi occupation of France, was visiting Houston from Paris to give a lecture at Texas A&M University when a border agent attempted to deport him back to France, Agence-France Presse reported.

After a border agent at George Bush Intercontinental Airport told him he was conducting a random check, Rousso was eventually questioned and detained for 10 hours, despite having a valid passport and visa.

Rousso was asked to submit to questioning, fingerprinting and a full body search, according to the same AFP report.

A customs agent asked him about his Egyptian birthplace as well as his mother and father, Rousso wrote in an essay titled, “Is the United States Still the United States?” in the Huffington Post.

“This incident has caused me some discomfort, but I cannot stop thinking of all those who suffer these humiliations and legal violence without the protections I was able to benefit from,” he wrote.

Rousso said a policeman eventually released him at 1:30 a.m., blaming the incident on the “inexperience” of the customs agent, according to the same account. The historian later found out that a colleague at Texas A&M had contacted an immigration lawyer who intervened on his behalf.

“Without them, I would have probably been handcuffed, chained, and shackled back to Paris,” he wrote.

The incident followed just weeks after several federal judges overturned an executive order that halted immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Egypt had not been included on the list of countries.