The south suburban Muslim leader exiled from the United States last year appealed his immigration case to the nation’s highest court Wednesday. Sabri Samirah, formerly of Orland Park, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether the federal government acted legally in keeping him out of the country for more than a year.

“We think the government is wrong on the law, and we think we’re right on the law,” said Samirah’s attorney, Mark Flessner. “This case has serious implications for a million immigrants living in this country, and the courts have left important legal issues unaddressed.”

Samirah, who lived in the United States for 15 years with his wife and three children, traveled to Jordan in December 2002 to visit his mother. Because he was not yet a citizen, he obtained permission from the authorities to travel, but on his way home last January, immigration officials stopped him and told him he could not re-enter the country.

Samirah was deemed a “national security risk,” but government officials refused to say why.

Samirah sued to obtain an immigration hearing to consider the evidence against him, and a circuit judge agreed, but a federal appeals court overturned that ruling and refused Samirah’s request to reconsider.

In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Flessner criticized the government’s position that the courts do not have jurisdiction to “second-guess” the attorney general in security matters, the argument used by federal attorneys…


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