Monday, April 05, 2021

Trump's Anti-Muslim Statements Did Not Taint Passport Revocations

In Abuhajeb v. Pompeo, (D MA, March 31, 2021), a Massachusetts federal district court dismissed Establishment Clause and Equal Protection challenges, among others, to the 2019 revocation of the U.S. passports of five siblings who were born in Jordan and whose father is a U.S. citizen. Claiming that the passports were initially issued erroneously, the revocations took place 14 years after the passports were initially issued.  According to the court:

The Siblings argue that President Trump’s statements during his 2016 campaign and administration, the series of executive orders barring immigrants from mostly Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, and the State Department’s corresponding actions revoking their passports in August 2019 demonstrate that they were the targets of a new “deliberate revocation policy” based on their race and religion.

Rejecting this argument, the court said in part:

Even if the Siblings have alleged circumstantial evidence of President Trump’s discriminatory intent, they have not alleged how that intent motivated the State Department’s decision to revoke their passports. The 2017 Travel Ban and extreme vetting for immigrant visa applicants program allege discriminatory intent against Muslim and non-white immigrants, but not U.S. passport holders in the Siblings’ positions. The Department of Justice’s increase in denaturalization cases may implicate the Siblings, but the government has not moved to strip their citizenship in the past year since revoking their passports.