Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Trump administration 'denied Muslim detainee’s green card application after Border Patrol fed him pork for days'

'I feel like it’s simply because he’s Muslim,' his American wife said

Sarah Harvard
New York
Monday 11 March 2019 22:23 GMT
Trump administration 'denied Muslim detainee’s green card application after Border Patrol fed him pork for days'

The Trump administration denied a green card application for a Muslim immigrant who accused Border Patrol of serving him pork sandwiches for more than six days, it has been claimed.

Two years ago, Adnan Asif Parveen filed a green card application after marrying an US citizen. He did not receive a decision from US Citizenship and Immigration Services until days after he was detained at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas on January 11.

Although Mr Asif had a work permit allowing him to legally work in the country while his green card application was pending, Border Patrol detained the Pakistani immigrant for six days.

“I feel like it’s simply because he’s Muslim,” Jennifer Asif, his wife, told HuffPost. “All we have tried to do is be a family and be legal. Every step of the way has been completely complicated. It’s hard not to be discouraged.”

Mr Asif said that while he was under Border Patrol custody, he was fed only pork sandwiches. Islamic practice prohibits Muslims from consuming pork. He said he was served a pork sandwich every eight hours, which he had to refuse as a practising Muslim. Since the agents offered no other option, Mr Asif picked off the meat of the sandwich and only ate the bread.

He also said that two Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) questioned him about potential terrorism ties and interrogated him about possible anti-American sentiment at his mosque.

“I said, no, the mosque is where you go to pray,” he recounted to HuffPost.

As of right now, Mr Asif is detained at Port Isabel Detention Centre in South Texas. He faces possible deportation.

Democratic Rep. Grace Meng wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security to investigate these allegations and to explain the reasoning for Mr Asif’s detention despite having a work permit.

According to HuffPost, several lawyers and advocates, including Mr Asif’s attorney Cathy Potter, believe the detainee’s religion might have a role in the rejection of his green card application.

A lawsuit in 2012 discovered that USCIS places additional scrutiny on green card, visa and citizenship applications from nationals of select Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan, which is Mr Asif’s nation of origin.

The agency declined to discuss Mr Asif’s case to HuffPost citing privacy concerns, but in general, USCIS does not tell the reasons why a person’s application was flagged, stalled or denied.

Mr Asif moved immigrated to Spain from Pakistan as a child. He was granted citizenship in Spain. Then in 2014, he visited the US to visit his uncle and cousins in New York City. When he travelled to Columbus, Ohio, where his uncle owns and operates a gas station, Mr Asif met Jennifer and began dating. Rather than returning back to Spain, Mr Asif stayed to continue dating her which left him undocumented after three months in the US.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The couple married in 2016, and subsequently filed paperwork with USCIS to adjust Mr Asif’s immigration status. Within one year, USCIS scheduled an interview with Mr Asif, which is the final step in the green card application process.

But USCIS cancelled the interview, citing it needed more time to conduct a background check. Mr Asif and his wife repeatedly attempted to follow-up with the agency, but did not receive further explanation.

Mr Asif’s application has been pending for almost two years by the time Border Patrol detained him in January 2019. It wasn’t until HuffPost published its original post on February 27 about his treatment by Border Patrol and ICE agents did USCIS made their decision on his green card application.

Last week, Ms Asif received a letter from USCIS dated March 1 requesting her to visit the agency’s office in Ohio to discuss her husband’s application. It made no reference to a decision on his case.

But then, the day after HuffPost published its article, Ms Asif received a second letter dated February 28, informing her that USCIS denied her husband's green card application.

In the letter, it claimed Mr Asif’s application had “significant adverse factors that show discretion should not be exercised in your favour,” citing ICE ordered to remove him on January 17.

It is uncertain what will happen next to Mr Asif. His lawyer filed a federal lawsuit this week seeking for his release and plans to take further legal action in response to the rejection of his green card application.

“I feel like I can’t give up on this,” his wife said. “I can’t lose him.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in