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ICE: relentless pursuer

Zahid Chaudhry, who has lived in Olympia for a number of years, exemplifies some of the ways that the US government can deny citizenship to individuals who otherwise meet all tests. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is appealing a March 2018 decision by a US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIs) judge affirming Zahid’s status as a legal US resident.

Zahid qualifies for citizenship in multiple ways, including Qualified Military Service; his marriage of nearly 20 years to a US citizen; and US family ties on his father’s side for forty years. However under a national security program known as the “Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program” (CARRP), the government excludes many applicants from Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities by delaying and denying their applications without legal authority. Learn more: https://www.aclusocal.org/carrp

Zahid’s case illustrates another means to deny citizenship to individuals from Muslim countries: Zahid’s name was added to the secret Terrorist Watchlist, from which there is no meaningful way to get removed. Research by The Intercept “revealed a staggeringly due–process-free system in which the government was routinely affixing the word ‘terrorist’ to an individual’s name and disseminating that information to a sprawling network of foreign and private partners, with virtually no evidence required to support the claim.” A federal judge has recently ruled this practice unconstitutional:

Zahid and his wife Ann have received consistent support from the Olympia community. After a yet another hearing on October 3, there is hope that the couple will finally see their citizenship claim resolved positively.

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