CAIR-NY Sues Trump Administration Over Muslim Ban to Reunite Yemeni-American Family

CAIR-NY Sues Trump Administration Over Muslim Ban to Reunite Yemeni-American Family

(NEW YORK, N.Y., 7/8/2019) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, filed suit against the Trump Administration for retroactively applying the Muslim Ban to revoke an approved visa for a Yemeni-American family. 

SEE CAIR-NY LAWSUIT

The suit alleges that U.S. Embassy officials approved the plaintiff’s visa in October 2017. Months later, Embassy officials reversed the decision by unlawfully applying the Muslim Ban to revoke a previously approved visa. The Muslim Ban does not permit retroactive application. 

“Our client’s experience is all too familiar for the Yemeni-American community and the families affected by the Muslim Ban,” said Ahmed Mohamed, CAIR-NY Litigation Director. “Simply put, the administration is willing to stoop to any level to keep out Muslims and immigrants and effectuate its white supremacist agenda, including sending women and children to live in a war zone.”  

“The moment our visa was approved was one of the happiest moments of our lives,” said Mr. Saleh Almuganahi, the plaintiff. “I thought I would finally be reunited with my family. Instead, my family has been placed in an indefinite limbo. We are being punished because we happened to be born in Yemen. How does the President expect me to live my life knowing that my wife and two children are trapped in a war zone? As any husband and father, I just want my family out of harm’s way and safe in my arms.”

 Mr. Almuganahi also expressed disbelief that he would be “treated as a second-class citizen” by a country he now calls home. 

"The principle here - that new laws or policies don't apply to the past - is one as old as the Magna Carta,” said Carey Shenkman, CAIR-NY Of Counsel. “Yet the administration is doing precisely that to Mr. Almuganahi and his family, retroactively applying a xenophobic, draconian policy to keep a mother and her two young children separated from their father. We hope that this case can lead to justice for the family, as well as others similarly situated."

According to the complaint, the plaintiff filed a petition for visa for his Yemeni national wife. Plaintiff’s wife was interviewed by the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti. The U.S. Embassy orally informed the family that the visa had been granted and provided written documentation stating “Your visa is approved” months before the Muslim Ban went into effect.  After the Supreme Court lifted the stay on Trump’s Muslim Ban, the U.S. Embassy revoked the visa, applying the Muslim Ban retroactively. 

The plaintiff, Mr. Saleh Almuganahi, is a U.S. citizen and long-time resident of New York City.  Mr. Almuganahi and his wife have two children, both U.S. citizens.  Mr. Almuganahi’s wife and children live in Sana’a, Yemen.  Mr. Almuganahi seeks to reunite his family in America in order to escape the violence of the war in Yemen. 

The lawsuit brought by CAIR-NY argues that these actions violate federal laws and the Constitution.  It seeks an order from the court to force the U.S. Embassy to issue the visa that was already approved. 

Muslims who have had their previously approved visas revoked because of the Muslim Ban are being urged to contact CAIR-NY for assistance by filing an incident report online at https://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report or calling 646-665-7599. 

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, 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-NY Litigation Director Ahmed Mohamed, ahmed.mohamed@cair.com, 646-481-2103; CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, anasher@cair.com, 917-669-4006.