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SCOTUS to take up denial of visa on "terrorism grounds"

Family sponsorship is just one of many ways that immigrants may seek to obtain a visa that would enable relatives to live in the United States. For a family member to qualify there are certain requirements that must be met and the U.S.  government has a variety of grounds upon which the visa application can be denied. One of those is on “terrorism grounds.” The U.S. Supreme Court is planning on reviewing a case in which that was the reason provided for the denial, without any additional explanation provided.

In this case, a woman who is a citizen of the U.S. filed a petition for a visa on her husband’s behalf, a month after the couple married in 2006. Her husband attended the interview that was scheduled in Pakistan after his wife learned that the petition was approved. At that interview the man answered questions regarding his work during the Taliban regime as a payroll clerk for the Afghan Ministry of Social Welfare, and he was informed that he should expect to receive his visa within six weeks.

Approximately nine months later the couple learned that the visa had been denied.

The basis for the denial of the visa was that it was based on a broad provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act. That provision specifically concerned terrorism-related denials. When additional information was sought regarding the denial, the couple was told by the Embassy that a more detailed explanation was not possible.

The man’s wife then filed a lawsuit which after initially being dismissed, last year was reversed by the 9th Circuit. The basis of that lawsuit was that the government acted in an unconstitutional manner when it failed to explain why the visa was denied on terrorism grounds.

The case, Kerry v. Din, was recently granted a writ of certiorari by the Supreme Court. We will provide updates as they become available.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Basis for Visa Denial Will Go Before High Court,” Barbara Leonard, Oct. 2, 2014

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