DTT: This is very sad. People should be able to travel or live anywhere they please as long as they don’t break the Law. The bigoted policies against Muslims and other minority groups is quite sad. It is not the way to go to build bridges. To deliberately deny someone a visa or a green card, based on where they are born from is not right.
By Sunita Sohrabji – IndiaWest.com
Thousands of U.S. citizenships, green cards and visas may have illegally been denied to Muslim Americans based on nebulous security concerns, claimed the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit filed July 31.
The suit, filed in Central District Court in California, names the USCIS and the Department of Homeland Security as defendants. It alleges that USCIS – a division of the DHS which reviews all immigration-related applications – uses a little-known program known as the Controlled Application Review and Resolution program to determine if there may be national security concerns associated with the applicant. The CARRP program was rolled out by USCIS in 2008; Congress did not enact the program and has no oversight into its activities, noted the ACLU in its lawsuit, declaring the program and its activities to be illegal.
From 2008 to 2012, at least 19,000 Muslims thus far have been subjected to the CARRP program, said the ACLU, reporting USCIS data.
The suit was filed on behalf of five long-term U.S. residents, who were either denied citizenship or experienced unusually long delays in the process. Ahmad and Reem Muhanna – for whom the suit is named – filed applications for citizenship six years ago, but their applications have been delayed without known reason.
“Our clients are long-time, law-abiding residents of the United States who, for years, the government has walled off from becoming citizens and lawful residents of this country without legal authority to do so,” said Jennie Pasquarella, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Southern California.
“Under this unfair and unconstitutional program, the government has blacklisted their applications without telling them why and barred them from upgrading their immigration status in violation of the immigration laws,” she said.
CARRP uses the Terrorist Watch List – a database believed to contain more than 1.5 million names — to identify possible applicants to whom documents be denied or delayed. The Watch List is also known as the Terrorist Screening Database, which is also used to create a “no-fly” list that identifies potential passengers who are denied from boarding U.S. aircraft.
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