University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Tsamcho v. Napolitano IM-NY-0048
Docket / Court 1:10-cv-02029-NGG ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
This case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York was brought by the class of immigrants granted asylum in the United States who are seeking to bring their spouses and children to this country. Represented by the New York Legal Assistance Group, they filed a complaint on May ... read more >
This case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York was brought by the class of immigrants granted asylum in the United States who are seeking to bring their spouses and children to this country. Represented by the New York Legal Assistance Group, they filed a complaint on May 5, 2010, to challenge a policy of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the Department of Homeland Security. Plaintiffs argued that the USCIS policy was a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.) and the Immigration Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.).

Federal law enables asylees to petition the government to allow their spouses and unmarried children to join them in this country. Once the petitions are approved, relatives living abroad must appear at a U.S. consulate to obtain authorization to travel to the United States. Before the challenged policy was implemented, if a relative did not appear at a consulate or did not bring the requested documents, the approved petition was held until the relative could appear with the documents. Then USCIS changed the policy so that when a relative did not appear at the consulate or bring the requested documents, USCIS automatically reopened and denied the petition that it had previously approved. This lawsuit charged the agency with acting in violation of its own regulations, taking actions that are arbitrary and capricious, and implementing a new policy without providing proper notice to the public.

On November 7, 2012, the parties submitted a stipulation agreement to the Court. On March 1, 2013, Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis approved the order of class action settlement and judgment.

The stipulation agreement stated that USCIS would no reopen and deny approved I-730 petitions solely because the beneficiary did not appear for the interview. Instead, the petitions will only be administratively closed, to be reopened at a later time. In future I-730 petitions, USCIS agreed that if the spouse or child ("beneficiary") does not show for the interview at the consulate, the petition will be administratively closed, and a letter will be sent to the petitioner. If the petitioner responds stating that the beneficiary can appear within six months, the petition will be reopened; if the petitioned responds stating that the beneficiary cannot appear within six months, the petition will remain closed and will be reopened upon a later notification from the petitioner that the beneficiary can appear within six months. Regarding previous petitions that have been denied solely due to the failure of the beneficiary to appear at the consulate, USCIS agreed to send a letter to the petitioner describing the outcome of this lawsuit. The petitioner would then follow the same process as future petitions (described above), depending on the ability of the beneficiary to appear at the consulate within six months. Additionally, USCIS agreed to distribute a Public Service Announcement targeting potential members of the class. Finally, USCIS agreed to pay $25,000 in attorney's fees. USCIS did not admit any liability in this stipulation agreement.

Dan Osher - 05/31/2013


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Immigration
Admission - procedure
Asylum - procedure
Family
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description Immigrants granted asylum who have petitioned USCIS to bring a spouse or unmarried child to the country, and whose petition was denied solely because the spouse or child failed to appear at the consulate for an administrative interview.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
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)
1:10-cv-2029 (E.D.N.Y.) 01/10/2013
IM-NY-0048-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Notice of Proposed Class Action Settlement
IM-NY-0048-0002.pdf | Detail
Important Notice for anyone who is a Refugee or Asylee
IM-NY-0048-0004.pdf | Detail
Complaint 05/05/2010
IM-NY-0048-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Agreement of Class Action Settlement 11/07/2012
IM-NY-0048-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Chua, Melissa (New York)
IM-NY-0048-0003
Magida, Jennifer (New York)
IM-NY-0048-0003 | IM-NY-0048-9000
Parkin, Jason (New York)
IM-NY-0048-0001 | IM-NY-0048-9000
Schulman, Yisroel (New York)
IM-NY-0048-0001 | IM-NY-0048-0003 | IM-NY-0048-9000
Stevens, Jane Greengold (New York)
IM-NY-0048-0001 | IM-NY-0048-0003 | IM-NY-0048-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Atkinson, Theodore W (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0048-0003
Dunn, Scott (New York)
IM-NY-0048-0003 | IM-NY-0048-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -