[Athen] FW: Blind man seeking citizenship wins suit

Ron Stewart ron.stewart at dolphinusa.com
Sun Apr 8 06:48:48 PDT 2007

Cudoes to Zuhair!


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Subject: Blind man seeking citizenship wins suit

Rocky Mountain News, Colorado USA
Friday, March 30, 2007

Blind man seeking citizenship wins suit

By Lou Kilzer

March 30, 2007

Jordanian says officials taking too long on bid

Caption: Zuhair Mahd, 33, shown at his Denver apartment, acted as his own
lawyer and named Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff and FBI
Director Robert Mueller as defendants.STORY TOOLS

A blind Jordanian with an American green card has convinced a Denver federal
judge that authorities have waited too long to approve or reject his bid for
U.S. citizenship.

Zuhair Mahd, a 33-year-old computer expert and industrious blogger, took his
case to federal court last May, saying that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services took longer than the allotted time to process his application.

He was not shy. In his suit, in which he acted as his own lawyer, Mahd named
Homeland Security Director Michael Chertoff and FBI Director Robert Mueller
as defendants.

While many armchair lawyers get their cases quickly kicked out of court,
Mahd triumphed. On March 21, U.S. District Judge Walker Miller said Mahd had
proved his case.

Miller ordered the FBI to complete a background investigation within 45
days, after which immigration authorities will have up to 45 more days to
make up their minds.

The judge's ruling applies only to those citizenship seekers who have been
interviewed by Citizenship and Immigration Services. Federal regulations
require a decision be made within 120 days after such an interview, the
judge said.

Miller said the government must now act on Mahd's request. But he did not
order the USCIS to approve Mahd for citizenship.

To prevent the 120-day clock from starting, the USCIS has recently stopped
interviewing applicants until the FBI completes its background work, said
Maria Elena Garcia-Upson, an agency spokeswoman.

How many applicants could be affected by Miller's ruling isn't clear.

But about 30 similar suits were under way in the Colorado district at the
beginning of the year, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

The government has not decided if it will appeal Judge Miller's ruling, said
Jeff Dorschner, Denver U.S. Attorney spokesman.

The FBI does background checks on millions of names each year, or about
67,000 a week, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.

But the process can become complicated when dealing with names with multiple
spellings or that come from different alphabets, he said.

Mahd, also known as Mah'd, lives an apparently open life. He posts his
life's story on a Web page, along with his thoughts on politics, religion,
poetry and writing.

It is clear that he has reservations about the current occupant of the White
House, but he says that most Americans aren't too fond of George Bush,

However, most of the writings reflect a man coming to terms with life and
the country he has adopted.

He says he was born blind in Amman, Jordan. His parents were shattered after
learning that he had no sight, but Mahd didn't let it stop him.

He says he learned early not to appear weak.

In 1990, at the age of 17, he came to the U.S.

He was poor, eating on a weekly budget of $20.

But he attended college and eventually moved to Colorado, working for IBM
and other companies.

He now has his own consulting company.

"It's pretty exciting," Mahd said of Judge Miller's decision. He said he
hopes it will help other Muslims like himself.

"Since 9-11, we've had the finger pointed at us," he said. "You lose your

With the ruling, he said, he hopes he has won some of that back.

kilzerl at RockyMountainNews.com or 303-954-2644


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