NEW YORK—A Chinese national was recently turned away at a U.S. airport, in what might be the first known case of a visa ban due to the traveler’s status as a Chinese Communist Party member.
The person has a U.S. travel visa valid for 10 years. As the father of a U.S. citizen, he applied for a family-based immigration visa some months ago and had recently met with a Guangzhou consular officer for an interview, but was still awaiting a decision, according to his lawyer. Being advanced in years, the person didn't withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for fear of affecting his pension benefits.
On Sept. 17, he flew from China to the United States to visit his daughter. Customs authorities stopped him upon landing at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and sent him on a next-day flight back to China, saying that he “does not meet the requirement for entering the United States,” according to Zheng Cunzhu, a U.S.-based immigration lawyer who consulted on the case.
Because of client confidentiality, Zheng didn't disclose the person’s name.
The man's travel visa was subsequently revoked. His daughter, who had been waiting at the airport to pick him up, later looked up his case at the National Visa Center on the State Department website, which indicated that his visa application was denied.
According to Zheng, the daughter said her father recalled nothing “unusual” during the visa interview, other than that he mentioned being a Party member.
While the U.S. administration has previously announced visa restrictions on specific Chinese officials for their roles in perpetuating human rights abuses, “this is probably the first case” of someone being turned away at the airport for their Party membership, Zheng said in an interview.
Given his client’s experience, any CCP member could risk being barred from U.S. entry, regardless of whether they are visiting as immigrants, tourists, or to see family, Zheng added.
The center has recorded more than 364 million entries to date, its website shows.
Commenting on the recent case, Yi said that the visa rejection should serve as a “warning bell” for all CCP members anywhere. As the world wakes up to the true nature of the regime, it would be wise to relinquish any existing Party ties, she said.
Zheng, who in 1989 organized protests in his hometown of Hefei to support pro-democracy students at Tiananmen Square, had the same message for anyone who still has CCP membership.
“If you have realized that this Party has violated what it promised to Chinese people and lied, I hope you can quit this organization earlier than later,” he said. “Don’t trade off the chance of immigration to the United States and reuniting with your children for the sake of pensions or rewards.”
A State Department official told The Epoch Times that “visa records are confidential under U.S. law,” and declined to comment further.
The Department of Homeland Security didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.