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International scholar visiting Texas A&M "mistakenly detained" by customs officials

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Henry Rousso

Henry Rousso, a Paris-based researcher, spoke at Texas A&M's Hagler Institute for Advance Study symposium on Friday.

A visiting scholar to Texas A&M was detained by customs officials in Houston this week while on his way to speak at a symposium in Aggieland, officials said Friday at the conference.

Henry Rousso was flying in from Paris to participate in the Hagler Institute Symposium when he was “mistakenly detained” Wednesday evening upon his arrival, according to Richard Golsan, director of the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M.

“When he called me with this news two nights ago, he was waiting for customs officials to send him back to Paris as an illegal alien on the first flight out,” said Golsan during his introduction to the session which Rousso was set to participate in.

After learning about the dire situation, Golsan said he immediately called university officials, leading A&M President Michael K. Young to enlist the help of Texas A&M Law School professor and director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic Fatma Marouf.

“Due to her prompt and timely intervention, Rousso was released,” Golsan said.

Rousso, 62, is a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, which the Egyptian-born scholar and author joined in 1981.

His work centers on the history and memory of traumatic pasts, France in WWII and the post-war period, his profile on the CNRS website says. Rousso's current study involves the relationship between history, memory and justice.

Rousso has been a research associate and visiting professor in many U.S. institutions, including Harvard University, Dartmouth College and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

He’s spoken at Texas A&M University many times about France’s Vichy regime and the country’s role in the Holocaust. In 2007, he was a visiting professor at TAMU, his profile says. 

Attempts to reach immigration officials in Houston were not successful Friday afternoon. 

More details later.

Amanda Brandt contributed to this report.

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