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Awad v. Kerry

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 28, 2016



          Gary Feinerman Judge

         In this suit under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., Qarwash Mohsn Awad challenges the State Department's revocation of his United States passport. Now before the court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. Docs. 23, 38. Defendants' motion is denied, and Awad's motion is granted.


         The facts are drawn from the administrative record. Doc. 27; see Little Co. of Mary Hosp. v. Sebelius, 587 F.3d 849, 856 (7th Cir. 2009) (“As a general rule, under the APA, review of an agency's decision is confined to the administrative record to determine whether, based on the information presented to the administrative agency, the agency's decision is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law.”); Cronin v. U.S. Dep't of Agric., 919 F.2d 439, 444 (7th Cir. 1990) (“Confining the district court to the record compiled by the administrative agency rests on practical considerations that deserve respect.”). The relevant background also includes facts on which the parties agree and, because summary judgment is granted against Defendants, facts asserted by Defendants. Finally, while the court denied Awad's motion to expand the administrative record, Doc. 63, that ruling merits no further discussion because Awad prevails on the administrative record without regard to the supplemental materials that he submitted.

         Awad was born in Yemen on October 25, 1984. Doc. 27 at 14; Doc. 39 at ¶ 4. He was admitted to the United States as a permanent resident on October 2, 2000, as the child of a United States citizen, his father. Doc. 39 at ¶ 10. Awad later was issued a judicial certificate of citizenship in the name “Qarwash Mohsn Awad.” Doc. 17 at ¶ 5. He applied for a United States passport in the name “Qarwash Mohsn Awad” in 2002, and applied for and received a renewed passport in 2011 under the same name. Doc. 27 at 6, 14-15. In the box labeled “OTHER NAMES YOU HAVE USED, ” Awad responded “NON” in his 2002 application and “Saleh” in his 2011 application. Id. at 4, 14.

         In 2006, Awad's father filed a visa petition on behalf of Awad's sister, whose first name is Zuhour. Doc. 39 at ¶ 12. On September 8, 2012, Zuhour met with Diplomatic Security Special Agent David Howell at the United States Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen. Id. at ¶ 14. The meeting yielded a sworn statement by Zuhour, signed by Zuhour and Howell. Doc. 27 at 7-8. The statement reads, in pertinent part:

My true and correct name is Zuhour Attaf Saleh KURWASH. … My father, Attaf Saleh KURWASH, immigrated to the United States under the assumed name Mohsen Saleh AWAD. My father filed an immigrant visa petition on my behalf under the fake/assumed name Zuhour Mohsen Saleh AWADH. I obtained a Yemen passport … under the fake/assumed name Zuhour Mohsen Saleh AWADH, in support of my petition. I lied to the Consular Officer during my visa interview, claiming that my true name was Zuhour Mohsen Saleh AWADH.

Id. at 7. The statement does not name or otherwise refer to Awad.

         Based on Zuhour's statement, the State Department initiated a passport fraud investigation of Awad's father; the case title is “AWAD, Mohsen Saleh.” Id. at 9. The investigation resulted in an IMS Report of Investigation, dated February 24, 2013, which focused primarily on Awad's father's immigration history and Zuhour's statement to Howell. Id. at 9-13. The Report referenced Awad in the following paragraphs:

A search in CCD/IVIS [(Consular Consolidated Database/Immigrant Visa Information System)] Case by Petitioner reveals that Subject [Awad's father] filed Immigrant Visa petitions for Bakil Mohsen AWAD [another of Awad's siblings] and Qarwash Mohsen AWAD [Plaintiff] … in 1996. … Subject filed all of the petitions under his fraudulent identity and used fraudulent identities for his children in order to conform to Arabic naming conventions.
Qarwash Attaf Saleh KARWASH aka Qarwash Mohsen AWAD [Plaintiff] … entered the United States on 10/02/2000 as the child of a U.S. citizen …. Qarwash naturalized as a U.S. citizen on 02/07/2002. On 05/27/2011, Qarwash submitted a U.S. Passport Renewal Application (DS-82) at the Chicago Passport Agency and subsequently received [a U.S. passport and passport card] under his false name of Qarwash Mohsn Awad …. A search … shows that Qarwash filed Immigrant Visa petitions for [his wife and two children]. Qarwash's petitions for his children were filed under his fake identity.

Id. at 10-11.

         The administrative record contains two internal State Department communications. The first, an email sent on January 16, 2015, states: “Please see the attached revocation request for … Qarwash Awad. His father's passport was revoked earlier this week using the same ...

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