A Muslim immigrant has accused the US Border Patrol of serving him pork sandwiches for nearly a week before the Trump administration denied him a green card application.
In 2017, Adnan Asif Parveen submitted a green card application after marrying a US citizen. He didn’t receive a decision from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services until a week after he was detained at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas on Friday 11 January.
Even though Mr Asif had a work permit allowing him to legally work in the US while his green card application was pending, Border Patrol arrested the Pakistani immigrant for six days.
His wife, Jennifer Asif told the HuffPost: “I feel like it’s simply because he’s Muslim.
“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 in custody, he was given only pork sandwiches every eight hours for six days, which he refused as a Muslim.
Due to the agents not offering any other option, Mr Asif only eat the bread after removing the pork.
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Two Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) also questioned him about alleged terrorism ties and interrogated him about anti-American sentiment at his mosque.
Mr Asif is currently being detained at Port Isabel Detention Centre in South Texas.
Democratic Rep. Grace Meng wrote to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to investigate these allegations and for an explanation to why Mr Asif was detained despite having a work permit.
The HuffPost reported that numerous lawyers, including Mr Asif’s attorney Cathy Potter, believe the victim’s religion might have influenced the rejection of his green card application.
A lawsuit in 2012 revealed that USCIS placed extra scrutiny on citizenship, visa and green card applications from nationals of certain Muslim-majority countries, which includes Pakistan.
The agency declined to comment on Mr Asif’s case stating that it does not speak about a person’s application.
The Pakistani national married his wife in 2016, and subsequently filed an application with the USCIS. Within a year, USCIS scheduled an interview with Mr Asif, which is the last stage in the green card application process.
However, USCIS cancelled the interview, stating that they needed more time to carry out background checks. Mr Asif and his spouse chased-up the agency, but did not receive any explanation.
By the time Mr Asif was detained in January 2019, his application had been pending for nearly two years. The USCIS only made their decision on Mr Asif’s green card application after HuffPost published their report on Wednesday 27 February about his treatment by ICE and Border Patrol agents.
Ms Asif received a letter from the agency dated March 1 asking her to visit the USCIS’s office in Ohio to discuss her husband’s application. It did not mention anything about a decision on her husband’s case.
But the day after HuffPost published their piece, Ms Asif received another letter dated February 28, informing her that USCIS had denied her husband’s green card application.
In the letter, it stated that 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 unclear what will happen to Mr Asif next, but his lawyer has submitted a federal lawsuit last week seeking for his release and intends on taking further legal action in relation to his green card application being rejected.