Press Releases

CAIR-Columbus Helps VA Doctor Obtain Citizenship Following USCIS Delay

(COLUMBUS, OHIO, 9/19/2018) — The Columbus, Ohio, chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Columbus) announced today that it has successfully resolved another citizenship delay lawsuit.

The suit, filed in federal court for the Southern District of Ohio, was on behalf of Mounir Sanhaji, a Muslim doctor of Moroccan origin who had been a legal permanent resident for 15 years and worked for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the past 13 years. 

Even though he had to clear a background check as a condition of his employment with the federal government, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) claimed that the more than two-year delay in adjudicating his application was due to pending background checks.

USCIS failed to even schedule Sanhaji’s naturalization interview until the lawsuit was filed on his behalf.

“We are pleased to announce that since the filing of the lawsuit, we were able to successfully resolve the delay in adjudication, and Mr. Sanhaji has been officially sworn in as a United States citizen,” said CAIR-Columbus Legal Director Romin Iqbal.

Iqbal added: “This case illustrates the problems associated with our immigration system. Here we have a man who has been providing medical care to our veterans and has already passed a background check in order to work for the federal government, and USCIS still claimed that they were unable to proceed with his application because of pending background checks. A person who has waited in line, obeyed the laws of this country for more than 15 years, and provided medical care to veterans in need should not have to file a lawsuit to become a citizen.”

CAIR-Columbus has reported an increase in immigration delays of all types and has filed immigration-related lawsuits for almost 40 plaintiffs just since the beginning of 2017. The majority of those cases have already been successfully resolved in favor of plaintiffs.

SEE: CAIR-Columbus Files Lawsuit to Reunite Refugee Family   

Ohio Muslims who are facing similar delays are being urged to contact CAIR-Columbus for assistance by filing an incident report online at:

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: Jennifer Nimer, CAIR-Columbus Executive Director, 614-451-3232,


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