The case of Abdulrahim Kewan: a visa the State Department refuses to issue.

Sunday, August 28th, 2011
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

I have posted twice about a friend and client, Abdulrahim Kewan, who is stuck in Egypt despite having an approved petition to come to the United States. The background of the case was laid out in a posting on October 17, 2010.

To summarize very briefly, Mr. Kewan was applying for permanent residence in the San Diego Immigration Court based on an approved visa petition as a battered spouse. In October 2002, he stopped at a gate at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton to ask for directions. He was arrested two weeks later. He was held until he was deported in early 2004. The story was reported in the media. Reporters had promised to follow up. I invite them to now.

Since Mr. Kewan was deported in 2004, we have been working to get him back. All papers were filed and waivers approved and an interview was held at the U.S. Consulate in Cairo in May 2010. At the interview, the Consulate said everything looked good and a visa they would soon deliver Mr. Kewan his visa. They kept his passport to affix the visa. Then more delays started occurring, discussed in a posting on February 6, 2011. These delays amount to a great unfairness and injustice.

 

Initially, the Consulate informed Mr. Kewan that his case was delayed because of “administrative processing,” code word for background checks. Then, he was asked to come back to the Consulate for a new medical exam in October 2010. This provided us a hope that the background checks were complete.

At an interview in October 2010, the Consulate made an outlandish request – for Mr. Kewan to get a letter from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) verifying when he was in the United States from 2000 to 2004. This despite:

1. Documentation we provided discussing Mr. Kewan’s whereabouts;

2. DHS’s extensive databases containing this kind of information, particularly when Mr. Kewan was in DHS’s custody in 2002- 2004 and regularly appearing in immigration court from 2000 to 2003;

3. There is no such mechanism for DHS to provide letters for people. The DHS is not like your mom who will write an absence note for you.

I tried contacting the Consulate for clarification. Despite their awareness that Mr. Kewan has an attorney, me, and I have a computer and a telephone, the Consulate has steadfastly refused to communicate directly with me. I provided them documentation, explained that I could not get note from Big Brother (mixing familial metaphors here), and I would provide them anything possible that they needed. I also explained that their request was irrelevant as Mr. Kewan has obtained all the waivers he could possibly need.

It is here the tale as told in the last blog posting ended, with our waiting on January 19, 2011, after I emailed Legalnet, the State Department’s consulate troubleshooters, and the Consulate explaining the situation.

Since then, I emailed the Consulate and Legalnet several times with no responses. Then in April 2011, the Consulate called Mr. Kewan and told him he needed to file an I-601 waiver. The number refers to a USCIS Form I-601, which is used to waive several grounds of inadmissibility. At the earliest stages of this case, before Mr. Kewan’s first interview in Cairo in May 2010, I wrote a detailed letter about how Mr. Kewan does not need an I-601 waiver. The letter reviewed the statutes and regulations that make this clear. I asked the Consulate and Legalnet if they could provide a reason for the need for a waiver, both because there is no need for one and if there were, I would need to know why because different reasons require different documentation.

Then in April 2011, the Consulate summoned Mr. Kewan back to Cairo for an appointment in July. They asked for new forms to be filled out and proof of his residence in the United States. I sent Mr. Kewan everything they asked for to bring to his interview.  I figured – Al-hamdu-li-llah, we’re are finally done. He will get a visa. Instead, at the July 2011 interview, the Consular officer reiterated that she wanted a letter from DHS about his period of stay in the United States. No more I-601 waiver request, but back to the need for a “presence note” from DHS.

I went back to emailing the Consulate and Legalnet. My email provider sent me a note that my email to the Consulate was discarded without being opened. After two unanswered emails from Legalnet, finally in the beginning of August 2011, I got an email from Legalnet. Like all their emails, it was cryptic. It said, the case is now awaiting administrative processing and hopefully it will not take long. Apparently, they finally let go of the mistaken need for a waiver and the request for a letter from DHS, however the specter of “administrative processing” re-reared its ugly head.

Administrative processing is what the State Department said was the cause for delay in May 2010.  All indications were that we finished with that a year ago, when Mr. Kewan had to re-do his medical exam in Cairo in October 2010. Mr. Kewan is probably the most scrutinized innocent man since Charlie Chaplin and has had more background checks than J-Lo. If the Department of State has any reasons as to why he should not have his visa, tell me. It is time for the U.S. Consulate to stop making up extra-legal reasons to delay issuing Mr. Kewan a visa and issue it. He has waited for the immigration establishment to issue a visa he is entitled to since 2004. How about some fair play already? It’s the American way. Posted August 28, 2011.


 

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