WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hanan Ashrawi, the longtime Palestinian spokeswoman and commentator, said the Trump administration turned down her request for a visa to visit her family.
“No reason given,” Ashrawi said Monday on Twitter. “Choose any of the following: I’m over 70 and a grandmother; I’ve been an activist for Palestine since the late 1960s; I’ve always been an ardent supporter of nonviolent resistance; I’ve always struggled for human rights and against corruption; I’m basically an academic although I was elected to the” Palestine Legislative Council, the Palestine National Council and the Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee. Ashrawi has served as a negotiator through multiple rounds of peace talks.
The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem told Noga Tarnopolsky, a Los Angeles Times correspondent, that it could not reveal the circumstances of the denial of a visa, but added that visas are not denied for political reasons.
“Visa records are confidential under U.S. law; therefore, we cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases,” the statement to Tarnopolsky said. “U.S. law does not authorize the refusal of visas based solely on political statements or views if those statements or views would be lawful in the United States. Visas may be denied only on grounds set out in U.S. law.”
Among the reasons under U.S. law for visa denial are evidence that the user plans to violate the terms of the visa — by working without a permit for instance; a criminal record; past immigration violations; and a variety of medical reasons.
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency asked the State Department for comment. It was unavailable as of press time.
The Trump administration has defunded virtually all assistance to the Palestinians and shut down a PLO mission in Washington, D.C.