Oct 14 2014

U.S. citizen sues the State Department for a passport

A Yemeni-American U.S. citizen sued the U.S. State Department today, asking a federal court in Michigan, where he lives, to order the State Department to issue him a U.S. passport.

Ahmed Nagi was naturalized as a U.S. citizen twenty years ago.  In May of 2013, after his previous U.S. passport expired, Mr. Nagi applied to renew his passport. He went in person to the State Department’s Passport Office in Detroit, and paid the $60 extra fee for “expedited” passport renewal service.

Normally, a U.S. citizen who applies in person at a Passport Office on an expedited basis — especially if they have been issued a U.S. passport previously, and are applying for a renewal rather than a first-time passport — can pick up their new passport within a couple of days, even the same day if they have evidence of imminent planned international travel.

Mr. Nagi, however, is still waiting for a new passport, sixteen months after he submitted his application. In response to repeated inquiries, Mr. Nasgi and his lawyers have been told only that his passport application is still “pending”. The State Department has used the impossible-to-complete “long form” as a pretext to hold up processing of some disfavored passport applications, but hasn’t asked Mr. Nagi for any additional information or told him anything about why his application hasn’t been approved.

In the meantime, Mr. Nagi is legally prohibited from leaving the USA without a passport.

The U.S. government appears to have decided that there is no legitimate reason for any U.S. citizen to visit Yemen, whether as a tourist or to visit friends or relatives. In a blatant case of discrimination on the basis of national origin, all U.S. citizens of Yemeni birth or ancestry are being treated as presumptively terrorists and subject to de facto travel restrictions, even if they haven’t individually been placed on any U.S. government blacklists.  Hundreds of U.S. citizens are currently stranded in Yemen, unable to leave Yemen or return to the U.S., because the U.S. Embassy in Sana’a has been systematically seizing the passports of any Yemeni-Americans who go to the embassy to request consular services as U.S. citizens.

According to one of Mr. Nagi’s attorneys, Lena Masri of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, “The federal government has routinely delayed the processing of passport applications for Muslims of Yemeni origin for an indefinite period of time.”  By keeping passport applicants in indefinite limbo, the State Department hopes to exercise a “pocket veto” of passport issuance and international travel, without issuing formal decisions denying passport applications that would be subject to judicial review.  “This lawsuit will challenge the federal government’s unchecked practice of denying these individuals their constitutionally-protected right to travel without affording them their right to due process of law.”

11 thoughts on “U.S. citizen sues the State Department for a passport

  1. “Stripped of the Right to Travel” (by Lena Masri, HuffingtonPost.com, October 16, 2014):

    […] Yemeni American Muslims who present themselves to the U.S. Embassy in Yemen for any reason are at risk of having their U.S. passports immediately seized for an indefinite period of time. Without passports, these individuals are left stranded in Yemen […]

  2. Legally unable to leave the USA, yes, but not physically unable. Head south – at the Mexican border the general attitude is “DGAF” – and never look back. Relinquish as soon as you can!

  3. “CAIR-MI Welcomes Resolution of Yemeni-American’s Passport Delay Case”:

    http://www.cairmichigan.org/blog/cairmi_welcomes_resolution_of_yemeniamericans_passport_delay_case.html

    “(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 1/28/2015) – The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today welcomed the U.S. State Department’s decision to issue a passport in response to a lawsuit filed by the civil rights organization challenging the long-delayed passport application of a Yemeni-American Muslim. CAIR-MI recently filed a federal lawsuit and petition for a writ of mandamus on behalf of an American Muslim of Yemeni origin who applied to renew his passport and whose application has been pending for more than one year and four months….”

  4. Pingback: Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » No passports for US citizens who haven’t paid taxes or don’t have a Social Security number

  5. I also need to sue the us passport agency washington dc. I provide all the papers and consent forms for my daughter, but they think everything is fake, she has date of travel but they are not giving her passport because they discriminating her.

  6. I am a white, protestant, male who was born in the us by two us born parents who had never left us soil in their life so I do not have issues related to religion, foreign travel or foreign residency.

    I was born and soon that event my parents got divorced/annulled the marriage. I was then adopted by a new husband of my mother and they also divorced. Then that scenario happened a second time.

    I have a delayed birth certificate from the last adoption, issued by the state I was born in but the passport office says it is not sufficient for their purpose. I was declined and asked for addition information.

    I sent them 10 pages of items as proof, lucky I even had some of them. School records including photos of the classes, childhood shot records, a church document, expired and replaced photo IDs. I even sent them a brief history of my life giving dates (as close as I could provide), names and addresses.

    I even sent them photocopies of the 3 Michigan Enhanced drivers licenses I had been issued while I was a Michigan resident.

    Enhanced licenses that were used several times when crossing the Canadian border both ways, with no trouble.

    I even sent them school records from when I was in the homes of both of my adoptive fathers.

    Both of these fathers were active us military, now retired or dead, I do not know as I have had no contact with them since 1982.

    My birth father died over 20 years ago not that I ever had any contact with him or his family. This was caused by my mothers hatred for the man. I suffered as a child from it and now I suffer still further.

    My mother died in 2004 but since we had stopped our relationship almost 30 years prior, her death was of little issue to me.

    I have had a social security card since 1976, i still have the original card issued, so my birth certificate was accepted by the government who is now saying it isn’t legal enough for the government.

    I am wondering now if they plan on deporting me and as to where since I am apparently not a natural born us citizen and they have not provided me any proof that I was born in another country.

    My friend and I have travel plans that we have put on hold because I did not have a passport. It has already been 2 months delay because someone says that the only documents I have access to don’t look exactly like theirs do.

    I NEED help.

  7. I missed my two conferences and also my grand mother’s funeral due to the delay of issuing my passport. I am exhausted for the racism in state department.

  8. I’ve been dealing with these passport terrorists as well, who are refusing to issue a passport to an obvious U.S. Citizen born in the U.S. with a U.S. Citizen father . These cowards refuse to identify there own selves and will not even provide the name of their supervisor in order to avoid being held accountable for their criminal activities. Their sin will find them out, eventually, and the Lord will get the last laugh, guaranteed.

  9. I am a US.born citizen I sent in my information in November of 2017 and paid for expedited service two weeks later nothing three weeks later nothing my trip to Paris came and went I had to stay home and was out thousands of dollars every time I call it’s “processing” or “pending” it’s now February of 2018 and it’s still nothing no matter what we do NOTHING! What are we supposed to do? Does anyone know who we can call? I am super white and from Kansas. They also kept my birth certificate. What do I do?

  10. Pingback: The US State Department is still denying passports to US citizens | Papers, Please!

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