News & Resources

John Doe v. United States: Protecting access to the Afghan SIV program

The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program is a critical immigration pathway that enables Afghans who face retaliation because of their work with the U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan to relocate to the United States with their families. Too often, however, the government’s administration of the program prevents these Afghan allies from securing the protections for which they are eligible.

John Doe is an Afghan civil engineer who managed numerous sensitive construction projects in Afghanistan on behalf of the United States over many years. In 2016, he applied for the first necessary approval for the Afghan SIV program: a finding of eligibility and authorization to proceed to subsequent stages of the application process. In 2018, the government granted that approval. But in 2020, the government abruptly—and unlawfully—withdrew it, claiming that a supportive letter of recommendation that Mr. Doe had submitted with his application was no longer valid because the supervisor who authored it could not reverify it. As the government was well aware, the supervisor was unavailable to reverify anything: he had been kidnapped by insurgents and remains captive. Mr. Doe challenges the government’s withdrawal of approval, and the policies on which the government relied, under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Afghan Allies Protection Act.

Follow the Case