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Old 08-12-2007, 04:44 PM
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http://www.ailf.org/lac/clearinghouse_mandamus.shtml


Plaintiffs' Arguments

Plaintiffs have responded to USCIS with legal arguments summarized below. The case citations provide recent examples of cases where the courts have agreed with plaintiffs' arguments. For further discussion of the elements of a successful mandamus complaint, see AILF's Practice Advisory, "Mandamus Actions: Avoiding Dismissal and Proving the Case."

1) Plaintiffs have a clear right to have their adjustment applications and visa petitions adjudicated in a timely manner.

Plaintiffs maintain that the right to adjudication is derived from USCIS's mandatory duty to process the applications and the fact that plaintiffs are the intended beneficiaries of the applications. See 8 C.F.R. 245.2(a)(5)(i) (providing that the "applicant shall be notified of the decision of the director and, if the application is denied, the reasons for the denial"); Haidari v. Frazier, No. 06-3215, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89177, *10 (D. Minn. 2006) (holding that 8 C.F.R. 209.2 creates a nondiscretionary duty to adjudicate adjustment applications).


The plaintiffs' right to a timely adjudication, though not explicit in the regulation, is present in section 555(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act, which requires that "with due regard for the convenience and necessity of the parties or their representatives and within a reasonable time, each agency shall proceed to conclude a matter presented to it." See Haidari, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89177 at *11. To determine if a delay is unreasonable, courts examine the reasons for delay. For example, they look to whether USCIS asked for the FBI name check in a timely manner and whether USCIS failed to timely process the applications before requesting the name check and after receiving the information from the FBI. See Haidari, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89177 at *16-17; Singh v. Still, No. 06-2458, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16334, *13-14 (N.D. Cal. 2007) (reasoning that respondents failed to explain why it took two-and-a-half years to initiate a security check with the FBI, why no action was taken to follow up with the FBI until the mandamus suit was filed, and why it took so long to process plaintiff's initial fingerprints); Aboushaban v. Mueller, No. 06-1280, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81076, *14 (N.D. Cal. 2006) ("[t]he FBI's delay in processing plaintiff's name check remains largely unexplained, and the remainder of defendants' arguments do not adequately excuse the delays plaintiff encountered.").


2) USCIS has a nondiscretionary duty to process applications and petitions.

USCIS has the discretion to grant or deny the application, but this does not bear on the nondiscretionary duty to make a decision on the application or petition. See Razaq v. Poulos, No. 06-2461, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 770, *9-10 (N.D. Cal. 2007) (reasoning that the fact that there is no specific deadline in the statute or regulation does not change the ministerial duty to process the application). In addition, INA 242(a)(2)(B)(ii), 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii), does not strip the court of jurisdiction to hear mandamus actions because no "decision or action" has taken place within the meaning of the statutory language. See Haidari, No. 06-3215, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89177 at *13-14 (D. Minn. 2006) (reasoning that because plaintiffs have neither been denied nor granted relief, 242(a)(2)(B) does not bar jurisdiction); Li Duan v. Zamberry, No. 06-1351, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12697, *6-7 (W.D. Pa. 2007) (finding that INA 242(a)(2)(B) does not apply because the pace of the adjudication of applications is not the type of discretionary "action" contemplated by the statute). For more information and earlier case law addressing discretionary decisions after the REAL ID Act please see AILF Practice Advisory, "Federal Court Jurisdiction Over Discretionary Decisions After REAL ID: Mandamus, Other Affirmative Suits and Petitions for Review."


3) There is no other remedy available to plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs also have argued that waiting for security checks to be completed is not an adequate remedy. The fact that plaintiffs are waiting is the exact harm plaintiffs are seeking to remedy. See Singh, No. 06-2458, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16334 at *23-24 (N.D. Cal. 2007) ("waiting for an agency to act cannot logically be an adequate alternative to an order compelling the agency to act. . .") (citations omitted); Haidari, No. 06-3215, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89177 at *15 (D. Minn. 2006) (reasoning that waiting is not an adequate remedy because the question is whether plaintiffs have an adequate alternative remedy to the waiting itself).
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