Washington, DC – Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) today introduced H.R. 4471, a bill that revises the Immigration and Nationality Act, to make clear that revocation of an alien’s visa or other documentation is not subject to judicial review.  Senator Chuck Grassley introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

Under current law, if an individual is denied a visa by the consular officer, there is no judicial review of that decision.  However, if an alien has entered the United States on a visa and their visa is subsequently revoked, they are entitled to fight their deportation case in federal court. The Smith bill applies the same review standard to visa revocations that is currently applied to visa denials.

Ranking Member Smith:  “The Christmas Day attack is not the first time terrorists have obtained U.S. visas-several of the 9/11 hijackers did so as well-but it is a grim reminder that the terrorist threat is alive and well. 

“One of the areas that still needs attention is the U.S. visa process.  Although Umar Abdulmutallab never intended to reach the U.S. alive, his actions prove that terrorists will use any means possible to carry out their violent intent.

“A gaping loophole that must be closed is the judicial review process that exists after a visa is revoked.  Under current law, a terrorist whose visa has been revoked is allowed to remain in America to fight his deportation case in U.S. courts instead of being sent home.  Unlike cases involving visa denials, the judicial review process that follows a visa revocation gives the terrorist access to the sensitive national security information that resulted in the visa revocation in the first place! 

“To protect sensitive information, the federal government often decides not to contest the judicial review, which means the individual is allowed to stay in the U.S.  As a practical matter, this means that even after we have determined that an individual is a terrorist or connected to a terrorist organization, they still cannot be deported.

“Giving litigation rights and access to sensitive national security information to terrorists makes no sense.  H.R. 4471 closes this loophole.  The legislation eliminates judicial review of removal proceedings for aliens whose temporary visas have been revoked.  And it ensures that if an error occurs overseas, or new information is discovered following the issuance of a visa, not only can the visa be revoked, but the terrorist can be removed from our American soil.”