Appeals Court Rules Government Cannot Deny Visa on “Terrorism” Grounds without a Stated Reason

Saturday, May 25, 2013
(graphic: Ninja Novelty Signs)

The State Department has been told by a federal appeals court that it cannot deny visas on terrorism grounds without offering some kind of explanation.


The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals made its ruling in the case of Kanishka Berashk, an Afghan citizen who tried unsuccessfully in 2006 to obtain a visa after marrying Fauzia Din, an American citizen.


Two years later, Berashk finally was granted an interview with a U.S. consular officer After waiting nine months for a decision from the U.S. embassy, only to learn Berashk had been turned down, Din filed a lawsuit to force officials to explain why her husband was denied entry into the U.S.


The only thing the State Department did was point to a broad 1,000-word provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act that excludes applicants for a variety of terrorism-related reasons.


Din lost her case before a district judge who sided with the government’s argument that officials did not have to explain themselves.


The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 ruling, ruled otherwise, saying the government lacked “a facially legitimate reason” for denying the visa to Berashk.


“The first problem is that the government has offered no reason at all for denying Berashk’s visa; it simply points to a statute,” Judge Mary Murguia wrote.


The ruling means Din can renew her effort to gain admission for her husband, who worked for eleven years as a payroll clerk for the Afghan Ministry of Social Welfare, including during the five years that the Taliban were in power. Since the fall of the Taliban in 2003, Berashk has worked as a clerk in the Afghan Ministry of Education.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Officials Must Explain 'Terrorism' Visa Denial (by Annie Youderian, Courthouse News Service)

Court Says U.S. Must Say Why Visa Denied (by Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle)

Fauzia Din v. John Kerry (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) (pdf)


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