Secret Blacklist Stopping Muslim Residents From Becoming Citizens, Lawsuit Claims

Rather than specifically focusing on the five plaintiffs listed in the suit, the ACLU’s stated goal is to abolish CARRP on the grounds that it violates the Constitution and the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

“They're essentially creating criteria for who is eligible for becoming a citizen that is nowhere listed in the Constitution,” ACLU attorney Jennifer Pasquarella said. “It’s their own agenda, essentially.”

The suit was filed in federal district court in California on July 31 and the government has 60 days to respond.

Pasquarella told ABC News that she does not know what the government will do, but said that it likely wants to get the case kicked out of court, which may be done by granting relief for the individual plaintiffs and processing their applications. The citizenship status of the five plaintiffs is not formally listed as a goal of the suit because federal courts do not have that authority, but Pasquarella said it would be a “great” outcome.

Though Muhanna said the application process has been undeniably frustrating -- and expensive; the legal expenses for his and his wife’s immigration attorneys through the years have cost roughly $50,000 -- he remains determined to become a citizen. His five children were all born and raised in America and have beaten him to citizenship, as a result.

He hopes the case will “bring peace to many other people, not just us.”

“Is this really the country that I was promised when I came?" Muhanna asked. "You are free -- freedom of speech, freedom of religion. ... Is it the same country that I have in mind?

“Sometimes," he added, "I think there is a lot of politics in some of these issues but overall it is the same country. This process, I don’t think, is in line with the Constitution of this country.”

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