Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC and the Fred T. Korematsu Center Denounce Supreme Court Ruling Allowing Racial Profiling and Xenophobia in Visa Decisions

The Court’s troubling decision affirms the validity of discriminatory visa decisions
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144
Aleisha Flores (771)-233-8202

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) today upheld a ruling that allows for racial profiling and xenophobic stereotypes to make their way into visa decisions. Under the doctrine of consular nonreviewability in the court case of Department of State v. Muñoz, the court held that consular officials’ visa denials cannot be challenged in court. 

The doctrine of consular nonreviewability is a manifestation of anti-Asian and anti-immigrant rhetoric dating back to the 19th century. Ping v. United States, also known as The Chinese Exclusion Case, was an 1889 Supreme Court case that was one of the earliest and most significant cases that set the precedent for the doctrine. An amicus brief filed by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC and the Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality with pro bono counsel Selendy Gay, PLLC, in March outlined the history of the doctrine’s racist roots and called for an affirmative decision in favor of the plaintiffs. 

“Today’s decision will increase the risk of xenophobia and profiling infecting the immigration process,” said Shalaka Phadnis, Litigation Staff Attorney at Advancing Justice – AAJC. “We are disappointed that the country’s highest court is continuing an unchecked system that can result in discrimination and stereotyping to guide visa decisions and risks tearing the livelihoods and families of immigrants apart.” 

“As disappointed as I am that the Court continues to uphold the consular nonreviewability doctrine despite its racist origins,” said Robert Chang, Executive Director of the Korematsu Center. “Today I am mostly just sad for Ms. Muñoz, Mr. Asencio-Cordero, their child, and countless other families who have been and may be torn apart.” 

Advancing Justice – AAJC and the Korematsu Center stand firmly against such unchecked power by individual consular officials on decisions that dramatically affect immigrant families and individuals. These organizations will continue their work fighting for fair and equitable immigration decisions for all.