Challenges to Spouse’s Visa Denial Curbed by U.S. High Court

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U.S. citizens aren’t entitled to a detailed explanation when their non-American spouses are denied a visa on national security grounds, the nation’s highest court ruled.

Voting 5-4 along ideological grounds, the U.S. Supreme Court backed federal immigration authorities who denied entry to Kanishka Berashk. The majority rejected a lawsuit by his wife, Fauzia Din, a naturalized U.S. citizen who argued that the visa refusal interfered with her constitutionally protected right to marry.

The majority justices were divided in their reasoning, leaving the court unable to produce a single majority opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas concluded that the Constitution doesn’t give Din any right to challenge her husband’s exclusion.

Two other justices, Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito, said the court didn’t need to reach that question, instead saying that the explanation provided to Berashk was sufficient.

Din married Berashk in 2006. Berashk, who lives in Afghanistan, submitted a visa application in 2008 and was rejected the following year. Officials pointed to a provision that bars visas to people involved in “terrorist activities” but provided no elaboration beyond that.

The Obama administration contended that requiring an explanation to spouses could jeopardize national security.

The case is Kerry v. Din, 13-1402.

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