(CBS)– A group of Arizona State University students from China were flying back to the school for the fall semester when they were detained at Los Angeles International Airport by Customs and Border Protection. The university is seeking answers as to why the nine students were ultimately sent home, CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO reports.
It’s unclear when the students were detained at LAX, though ASU sent letters addressed to the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of State dated August 29.
In the letters, ASU president Michael M. Crow references an incident reported by The Washington Post involving an incoming Harvard freshmen being detained after landing in Boston and subsequently having his visa revoked. He was then sent back to Lebanon.
Crow detailed four questions he wanted answer by both agencies, including what encompasses the “standard procedures” of screening international students as well as “a summary of the number and circumstances for denials for entry into the U.S.”
In a statement, ASU confirmed the students were detained but said that “CBP has given ASU no information on what has transpired.”
“Moreover, in cases of academic integrity, the only institution capable of determining such a violation is the academic institution in which students are enrolled. Customs and Border Protection is in no position to make such a finding,” ASU spokesperson Jerry Gonzalez said.
The university said it had “engaged with all levels of federal government over the last week” but had yet to receive a response.
A spokesperson said that one of the students was close to graduating and that some of the students will continue their education online. ASU says it has remained in touch with all nine students.