No 'right' to live in US with foreign hubby, Supreme Court tells Afghan-born woman

Tour groups visit the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on Monday. -- PHOTO: EPA
Tour groups visit the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on Monday. -- PHOTO: EPA

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US woman who filed suit after her Afghan husband was denied a US entry visa because of terror suspicions lost an appeal Monday before the Supreme Court.

The Afghan-born woman had argued that her constitutional rights were being violated because she was being prevented from living in the United States with her spouse.

But the court disagreed, by a vote of 5-4 that reflected its division between conservatives and liberals.

It agreed with the administration, which bars appeals against visa denials made on grounds of "terrorist activities". The court heard arguments in this case on February 23.

Fauzia Din had filed suit when her husband Kanishka Berashk's visa request was turned down in 2009.

He had worked for the government in Afghanistan when it was still controlled by the Taleban. That ended in December 2001 with the US-invasion that ousted the Taleban for granting safe haven to Al-Qaeda.

The court said Din's claim that she was deprived of liberty by not being able to live with her spouse in America was "absurd". It said she is not being imprisoned, nor held in a private home against her will, and that neither she nor her husband were being denied liberty as guaranteed under the constitution.

"Under a historical understanding of the due process clause, Din cannot possibly claim that the denial of Berashk's visa application deprived her of life, liberty or property," the sentence reads.

The due process clause bars the government from unfairly denying people their basic constitutional rights to those three things: life, liberty and property.

Din was not denied the right to marry, and the right to wed "cannot be expanded to include the right that Din argues for - the right to live in the United States with one's alien spouse", Judge Antonin Scalia said in presenting the majority opinion.

He said the court supports limits on immigration and "serious constraints on the ability of immigrants to bring their relatives into this country with them".

The four dissenting, progressive judges backed an opinion written by Judge Stephen Breyer who said US law "surrounds marriage with a host of legal protections to the point that it creates a strong expectation that government will not deprive married individuals of their freedom to live together".