The never-ending wait for a visa.

Sunday, October 17th, 2010
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

Today I would like to discuss a case that his been going on for eight years and is still going. The case is that of Abdulrahim Kewan. I was representing Mr. Kewan in a battered spouse case. Then on October 10, 2002, Mr. Kewan, driving to a painting job, got lost. He stopped at a back gate at Camp Pendleton to ask for directions. The MP’s at the gate drew him directions and sent him on his way. As was the protocol after September 11, 2001, he and his vehicle were first searched. The MP’s report made it to the INS and the INS, as part of a Joint Terrorism Task Force, arrested him. The INS held him for 16 months until he was deported. That 16 months I spent filing motion after motion, lawsuit after lawsuit, and prepared for hearing after hearing to try to get him released and adjusted to permanent residence under the laws that protect battered spouses.

The case was punctuated by lies told by the government. The INS’s attorney told the immigration judge that a twice-approved battered-spouse petition (Form I-360) should not be respected because Middle Eastern men are known to be defrauding the battered spouse process. At trial, I examined the Navy Criminal Investigative Service officer assigned this case and she testified that she never heard such a thing. I examined the FBI agent responsible for the case and he never heard it either. I flew to a conference in Boston and spoke to the chiefs of the INS’s battered spouse program, one based in Washington, D.C. and the other at the Vermont Service Center, where battered spouse cases are decided, and they both told me they never heard such a thing. Both the NCIS and FBIA investigators told the immigration judge that Mr. Kewan was not a person of interest to them.

The government attorney then told the immigration judge that she should deport Mr. Kewan and let him try to come back through a U.S. Consulate because doing security checks would be easier if he were on his home turf. This argument made no sense to me then and no sense now. Since, Mr. Kewan’s deportation work continued. Finally, a request for a waiver of inadmissibility for a prior deportation I filed on September 8, 2006, was approved on November 3, 2009. We then began the process of getting Mr. Kewan an interview in Cairo with the U.S. Consulate for the issuance of a visa. On May 6, 2010, he had his interview. The officers responsible reviewed the case, read a letter I wrote regarding some technical legal issues, and then took Mr. Kewan’s Egyptian passport for the affixing of a visa – and some money so they could send the passport back to him. That last step of taking the passport made it seem that the ordeal was finally over – Mr. Kewan would get his visa.

Since then, Nada. Gar Nichts. Rien de Tout. Bupkes. I have been in contact with the Department of State and have been told repeatedly, that the case is undergoing “mandatory administrative processing.” This is the code word for security checks. Mr. Kewan was examined from belly to brisket when he was arrested. The FBI and NCIS both concluded he was not a security risk. He has been in Egypt for 7 ½ years. You can be sure Egyptian security has investigated him. Having been on home turf for this long, you’d think security checks would be done. The government attorney said it was the most efficient way. Yet time passes and nothing happens. It is time for Mr. Kewan to receive a DHL envelope in the mail with a passport and a visa in it. I need him here. My house needs painting. If someone reading can send the cavalry, or is the cavalry, please help.



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