(COLUMBUS, OHIO, 9/6/18) – The Columbus, Ohio, chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Columbus) today announced the successful resolution of a lawsuit against the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, for unreasonably delaying immigrant visas for the four minor children of a U.S. legal permanent resident.
The applications sat unadjudicated for almost four years, causing the family to remain separated unnecessarily – with the parents living in the United States and the children remaining in Pakistan.
In June, CAIR-Columbus filed a mandamus lawsuit in the Federal Court for the Southern District of Ohio against the embassy and the U.S. Department of State in order to force the embassy to process the applications.
After two months of litigation, the lawsuit was successfully resolved two months later with the children receiving their visas enabling them to travel to the U.S. to finally be reunited with their parents and brother. The family said they are extremely grateful that a nearly four year struggle is finally over.
While their visa applications were pending, the family repeatedly inquired with the consulate about the status of the applications but were simply told they were in “administrative processing.”
Attorneys for CAIR-Columbus say that once cases are put in administrative processing, it is often an “indefinite black hole.” Consular officers are not required to tell applicants why they were put in administrative processing, nor is there any specific deadline for consular posts to complete the additional screening required by administrative processing.
“These cases illustrate the injustice and cruelty associated with the amount of discretion given to consular officers. Families are sometimes separated for years, for no apparent reason, and no matter how the case is eventually resolved, there is no way to get back that lost time,” said Jennifer Nimer, CAIR-Columbus executive director and attorney for the plaintiffs. “The Trump administration’s new ‘extreme vetting’ policies have made this problem infinitely worse.”
CAIR-Columbus has seen an increase in immigration delays of all types and has filed immigration-related lawsuits for nearly 40 plaintiffs just since the beginning of 2017. The majority of those cases have already been successfully resolved in favor of the Plaintiffs.
Muslims who are facing similar delays are being urged to contact CAIR-Columbus for assistance by filing an incident report online at www.cair-columbus.com
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
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CONTACT: Jennifer Nimer, CAIR-Columbus Executive Director, 614-451-3232, email@example.com