Muslim Names Stall US Travel Visas

Travelers' applications vanish into 'administrative processing'
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2010 4:37 AM CDT
Muslim Names Stall US Travel Visas
In this March 8, 2010 photo, international travelers wait in line prior to entering a security checkpoint at Logan International Airport in Boston.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A student visa for a clean-cut French grad student to attend UC Berkeley sounds like a pretty routine matter—but not when his name is Mohamed Youcef Mami. Mami, who missed both his non-refundable flight and the start of his master's program waiting around in France for his mysteriously delayed visa, is one of a number of recent Muslim travelers to the US who have found their visa applications held up for what US authorities cryptically call "administrative processing," the Washington Post reports.

"Administrative processing" is the euphemism du jour for checking names against multiple terrorism watch lists—a process that has stepped up since the Detroit terror attempt and caused delays for the many Muslim travelers with names that happen to sound similar to those of terrorism suspects. And while Mami eventually got his student visa, Said Mahrane, a prominent journalist covering Nicolas Sarkozy, had to stay behind on Sarkozy's recent trip to Washington because he couldn't get a visa—or an explanation of why.
(More French Muslims stories.)

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