Currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, Innovation and Advancement at the University of Johannesburg, Adam Habib is a world-renowned researcher, scholar, and political commentator. He is an expert on issues of democracy, governance, race, and South African politics, public policy, and social movements. Professor Habib is also a vocal critic of various aspects of U.S. foreign policy, including the war in Iraq. Habib was a frequent traveler to the U.S. and earned a degree from the City University of New York. But when he arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in October 2006, Customs and Border officials revoked Professor Habib’s visa without explanation. As a result, Habib was unable to attend scheduled meetings with U.S.-based scholars and representatives from U.S. and international agencies, universities, and foundations. As part of a larger pattern of “ideological exclusion,” Professor Habib was one of dozens of foreign scholars, writers, artists, and activists barred from entering the U.S. during the Bush administration not on the basis of their actions but on the basis of their ideas, political views, and associations.
The ACLU and the ACLU of Massachusetts filed a lawsuit in 2007 on behalf of organizations that had invited Professor Habib to speak in the U.S. The lawsuit charged that the government’s exclusion of Professor Habib amounted to censorship at the border because it prevented U.S. citizens and residents from hearing speech that is protected by the First Amendment. In January 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed an order effectively ending his exclusion. Professor Habib has since obtained a 10-year visa and is able to travel to the U.S.