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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(13) comments

Aggie Till I Die

Based on my own international travel experiences, Customs employees are not much different than the people employed at the Texas DPS office in Bryan. They are typically really challenged in the Interpersonal Skills category!


They did not see his passport. USA govt has banned not the people from Greece.

John Ellison

Another example of poorly conceived policy causing bad results.


"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." He was Egyptian born, thus harrassed.

Justin Boyett

That's an incredible conclusion you came to there. Can you cite more than just anecdotal evidence?

Steve Wozniak

Houston? One time I was flying from Paris, France, to Monterrey, Mexico, through Houston. I was informed that my suitcase would not have to be picked up in Houston. Since this was unusual I was skeptical and asked 2 or 3 times and was told, in a confident tone, that I would not have to pick it up in Houston. You know when someone who knows the system is telling the truth and that's how I read it. When I arrived in Houston I made a comment about it to the first immigration official, who told me that I'd have to collect my suitcase and recheck it. I was confused but went downstairs and awaited my suitcase, which never arrived. I went back up and found a customs official who told me I was wrong about my bag going all the way to Monterrey. I asked for a manager. 4 customs officials ganged up on me, telling me that I was right. I was comfortable. I had a long layover anyway. I told the officials I wasn't speaking for myself but for many others who might miss a flight waiting for a bag that wasn't coming. I had to go back down to the baggage claim and find an airline official who explained to me that this was some sort of test policy. My bag would not need to be picked up in Houston. She knew the policy. I trudged back up one flight of stairs and found a customs official and again asked for a manager. I wound up with 4 different customs officials telling me that I was wrong. I told them that they could walk down one flight of stairs and hear the policy from a Continental Airlines official and they told me that they made the policy, not Continental airlines. I was at this point trying to help other people who might actually believe these wrong customs people but the customs officials I was speaking with only made aggressive motions my way about how wrong I was. I knew I was right and my bag did appear in Monterrey. I decided that when you make the rules, you are right when you are wrong. My regret and distrust and some level of hatred remains to this day. They could have just been nice and walked down one flight of stairs.


@Brazos County Citizen

Equal opportunity bigotry is hardly reassuring. This is the third humiliating fail from CPB in as many days (Mohammad Ali, Jr.; beloved Australian children's author Mem Fox, and now a French historian). Can we admit that giving 'discretion' over who is a threat, a job that requires a degree of critical thinking ability, to line CPB agents is a bad idea? They were surly, under-educated and prone to throw their limited weight around prior to this order. Now they are just embarrassing and insufferable.

My Observation

Ah, and what education and training do you have that makes you so enlightened? Can you share with us your broad knowledge and expertise of other cultures so that we may see the light and be as smart as you. Surely, you've never made a mistake in your life and walk on water.


"Mistakenly detained" because that's what the officials said.

In addition, Muslims come in all colors. So, apparently, do bigots.

My Observation

Another internet expert. Thank You.

Brazos County Citizen

Two points.

First, the writer of this article didn't explain or provide insight as to why "mistakenly detained" was in quotes as it there's some doubt whether its true.

Second, he looks white so does that mean that custom officials screen people of all colors, not just those who are black or brown? Yes, I think it does.

John Ratzenburger

Right, BCC. No evidence of racism there, right? Privileged white man?

My Observation

I love Master of disaster's speculation that:
A. BCC is White and therefore privledged. (It's automatic no matter what BCC's socioeconomic status is).
B. Racism was solely to blame for Henry's being held by ICS.

Glad to know MOD is such an expert. Perhaps one day you'll be invited to speak at TAMU yourself even though you lack any kind of credential.

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