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CAIR-Chicago Files Mandamus Suit Against USCIS for Asylum-Seeking Clients

(CHICAGO, IL, 9/9/2019) – The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group, recently filed a mandamus suit against United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) and its delay in advancing asylum cases.

“These individuals came to the United States to escape persecution in their home countries, but instead of being given welcome refuge here, they have been subjected to endless delays and continuous uncertainty, bureaucratic red tape, and administrative inaction,” said Phil Robertson, litigation director for CAIR-Chicago.

CAIR-Chicago currently has about a dozen open asylum cases stagnated due to unexplained and indefinite delays from USCIS. The seven clients in the mandamus are facing discrimination, persecution, torture, and even death if they return to their home countries due to political unrest:

JANE DOE # 1 is a Syrian Sunni Muslim who grew up under the shadow of the Assad regime, forced to feign loyalty despite her family’s critical views of the regime. The client moved to Canada and then the United States, where she has become a vocal critic of the Assad regime. Now she is unable to return to Syria or she risks be branded a dissident.

JANE DOE # 2 is a Roman Orthodox Christian hailing from Jordan. She was ostracized by her family for marrying a man of the Muslim faith, but also by her husband’s family for her refusal to convert. When her husband passed away, she faced further persecution from her husband’s family. Eventually, they made clear of their intent to take possession of her child while threatening her life. She is currently living with her son and lawfully working in the U.S.

JOHN DOE # 1 hails from Yemen, where his family had ties by marriage and business to the United States. Because of his family’s ties to the United States, they were targeted for harassment, resulting in JOHN DOE # 1 being physically beaten, threatened with death, and hospitalized. When his father’s business was shuttered, and mother blinded by a rocket attack, he and his family abandoned the country, leaving most of their possessions behind and fleeing for Djibouti by boat. Since then JOHN DOE # 1 has come to the United States on a student visa, hoping to finally find long term peace and safety.

JOHN DOE # 2 is a Syrian national currently seeking asylum in the United States. He escaped Syria through a scholarship to a University in the Central United States. However, he knows if he returns, he will be conscripted into the military and be forced to play a role in the vast violence conducted by the Assad government. He awaits a final decision on his asylum application as he continues his studies here.

JOHN DOE # 3 is a Syrian national whose family has long suffered brutal harassment and torture under the Assad regime. JOHN DOE # 3 has been stopped multiple times at security checkpoints and even detained under threat of torture, merely because he shared his family name. JOHN DOE # 3 has since completed a doctorate in architecture and hopes to find permanent safety in the United States.

JOHN DOE # 4 is a Sunni Muslim hailing from Giza, Egypt. In 2013 his political party was deemed a terrorist organization and he was forced to flee or face imprisonment, torture, and death. The client was able to reunite with his family in the U.S., where he currently resides while he awaits a final determination on his asylum application.

JOHN DOE # 5 is a Syrian national with a background as a civil engineer. When the Syrian revolution began, the client was working outside the country in the UAE. The client knew if he returned to Syria he would likely be targeted as a dissident and imprisoned. Seeking safety, he and his family sought asylum in the United States.

CAIR-Chicago has seen an increase in asylum delays with the onset of the various iterations of the Muslim Bans.  Many of the asylum clients come from countries listed in the bans, including Syria and Yemen, searching for a home for safety from political intimidation and physical danger. Individuals from Syria, particularly, fear forced conscription or repercussions for dissent against the powers at play.

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.


CONTACT: CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab, 312-212-1520, 202-870-0166,; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Saadia Pervaiz, 312-212-1520,; CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Asha Binbek, 312-212-1520,

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