The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has filed a lawsuit against several federal agency heads, claiming the group's foreign members have been wrongfully banned from entering the United States.
Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas are named as defendants in the lawsuit, as the lawsuit claims their executive rules could be violating the Hells Angels' constitutional rights.
The federal lawsuit contends that several foreign Hells Angels members applied for visas last year to attend one of the club's major events in New Hampshire, and they were denied, based on their membership with the Hells Angels.
According to the lawsuit, "[m]any members" of the Hells Angels don't have criminal records, and the club says it's not a "criminal organization."
On the other hand, the lawsuit recognizes that Homeland Security and the Department of State made an agreement to define the Hells Angels as a "known criminal organization" in the Department of State's Foreign Affairs Manual -- thus making them ineligible to obtain a visa.
But the Hells Angels' lawsuit claims this rule flies in the face of the congressional immigration legislation that allows immigration officials to deny visas for security reasons.
"Defendants will deny visas to all aliens based solely on their membership in a Hells Angels charter without further analysis into whether or not that individual seeks to enter the United States to engage solely, principally, or incidentally in unlawful activity," the lawsuit states.
The Hells Angels are ultimately seeking a permanent injunction against the rules that are keeping its members from getting visas -- which would likely apply to other biker gangs listed by the State Department, like the Outlaws, Bandidos, and Mongols, as well as street gangs like MS 13 and the 18th Street gang.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The lawsuit can be found below: