University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Alsamman v. Gonzales IM-IL-0016
Docket / Court 1:06-cv-2518 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On May 4, 2006, nine Muslim males, who applied to be naturalized as United States citizens, passed all their interviews and related tests, and had been waiting for more than 120 days - some as long as 2 years - to be scheduled for their oath ceremonies, and the advocacy group Arab American Action ... read more >
On May 4, 2006, nine Muslim males, who applied to be naturalized as United States citizens, passed all their interviews and related tests, and had been waiting for more than 120 days - some as long as 2 years - to be scheduled for their oath ceremonies, and the advocacy group Arab American Action Network brought suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against various federal immigration agencies. Plaintiffs, who were represented by attorneys with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Midwest Immigrant & Human Rights Center, and the Competition Law Group, LLC alleged that that the naturalization process for Muslim males (or males from countries with a significant Muslim population) took significantly longer to complete than other naturalization applicants. Individual plaintiffs alleged gender discrimination and violations of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-l(a). They sought a judicial determination of naturalization applications pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1447(b), as well as other declaratory and injunctive relief. The Arab American Action Network sought relief under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Government moved to dismiss the case. While that motion was pending, the Government produced approximately 3.4 million immigration records to plaintiffs. After analyzing that information, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint on January 26, 2007, substituting several new plaintiffs for some of the original plaintiffs whose naturalization applications had been finally adjudicated. The Government renewed its motion to dismiss. A Third Amended Complaint was filed on September 19, 2007 adding new plaintiffs.

On September 20, 2007, the District Court (Judge John F. Grady) granted the government's motion to dismiss in part and denied it in part. The Court dismissed the claims of the individual plaintiffs and remanded them back to the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Court granted the plaintiffs until November 12, 2007 to file an amended complaint as to the class action allegations. Antonishin v. Keisler, 2007 WL 2788841 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 20, 2007). Plaintiffs filed a fourth amended complaint which asserted class claims that the government's unreasonable delays in processing naturalization applications violated the Administrative Procedure Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The complaint sought certification of a class consisting of:

All persons who are or will be lawful permanent residents applying for naturalization to become U.S. citizens, whose applications are pending in Illinois, Indiana, or Wisconsin, and whose naturalization applications are not adjudicated within 120 days after the date of their initial examination.

Defendants moved for dismissal of the fourth amended complaint (now known as Yan Bashkin et al. v. Keisler et al.). Plaintiffs moved for vacatur of the opinion and order of September 20, 2007, which had dismissed most of their claims. On June 13, 2008, the court (Judge Grady) considered these motions together and denied them in part as moot. With regard to the plaintiffs whose applications had been processed, the court dismissed their claims. The court did not dismiss the claims of plaintiff Ismail Suleiman, whose naturalization application was denied. Instead the court vacated its earlier dismissal-in-part, which meant that Suleiman could continue his case on all claims. But there is no evidence that he did so.

Dan Dalton - 11/20/2007
Nadji Allan - 10/02/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Religion discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Wait lists
Immigration
Constitutional rights
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
Language
Arabic
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Bivens
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Attorney General of the United States
Department of Homeland Security
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Plaintiff Description All persons who are or will be lawful permanent residents applying for naturalization to become U.S. citizens, whose applications are pending in Illinois, Indiana or Wisconsin, and whose naturalization applications are not adjudicated within 120 days.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Unknown
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:06-cv-02518 (N.D. Ill.) 06/13/2008
IM-IL-0016-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Naturalization and Other Relief 05/04/2006
IM-IL-0016-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 09/20/2007 (627 F.Supp.2d 872) (N.D. Ill.)
IM-IL-0016-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Fourth Amended Complaint for Naturalization and Other Relief 11/13/2007
IM-IL-0016-0002.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 06/13/2008 (2008 WL 4866352) (N.D. Ill.)
IM-IL-0016-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Grady, John Francis (N.D. Ill.)
IM-IL-0016-0003 | IM-IL-0016-0004 | IM-IL-0016-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berten, David Powers (Illinois)
IM-IL-0016-0001 | IM-IL-0016-0002 | IM-IL-0016-9000
Musabji, Heena A. (Illinois)
IM-IL-0016-0001 | IM-IL-0016-0002 | IM-IL-0016-9000
Roth, Charles G. (Illinois)
IM-IL-0016-0001 | IM-IL-0016-0002 | IM-IL-0016-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Brock, Gina Elizabeth (Illinois)
IM-IL-0016-9000
Davis, Daniel J. (District of Columbia)
IM-IL-0016-9000
McNulty, Sheila (Illinois)
IM-IL-0016-9000
Stevens, Elizabeth Jones (District of Columbia)
IM-IL-0016-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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