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Case Name Tarek Hamdi v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Service IM-CA-0074
Docket / Court 5:10-cv-00894 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization ACLU of Southern California
Case Summary
On June 16, 2010, an Egyptian national, who had resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for over 30 years, filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and Department of Homeland Security, ... read more >
On June 16, 2010, an Egyptian national, who had resided in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for over 30 years, filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and Department of Homeland Security, under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The petitioner, represented by the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, asked the court for a de novo review of his application for naturalization along with costs. Specifically, Mr. Hamdi claimed that the respondents violated the INA in concluding that he made a false statements about his association with a charity to which he made a donation in 2000 and which was identified as a financier of terrorism in 2002. He claimed that their conclusion was an abuse of discretion under the Administrative Procedure Act and that such a standard for "association" was so vague as to violate his 5th Amendment right to due process.

The litigation of this case and subsequent Freedom of Information Act requests brought to public knowledge the USCIS "Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program" (CARRP), an agency-wide policy for identifying, processing, and adjudicating immigration applications that raise "national security concerns".

Mr. Hamdi married an American citizen and made regular donations to charity pursuant to his sincere religious beliefs. In 2001 he applied for naturalization. In 2002 he passed his naturalization exam. In 2006 he was sent a notice scheduling him for a second interview, but due to a business trip he did not receive it until after the interview date had passed. His request to reschedule was ignored and his application was rejected. He reapplied in 2007, passed the test again in 2008, and in 2009 filed a mandamus action to compel USCIS to adjudicate his application. USCIS denied his application on the grounds that he gave false testimony by failing to reveal his association with Benevolence International Foundation (BIF) and his current employment (which had begun after his application and interview). He appealed and was denied again based on his "association" with BIF, inferred from his one donation in 2000. Having exhausted administrative remedies, he sought review from the District Court under the INA.

On December 14, 2011, the District Court for the Central District of California (Judge Virginia A. Phillips) dismissed the component of Mr. Hamdi's claim which argued that the naturalization application's "association" question is unconstitutionally vague. The court found that Mr. Hamdi requested no relief predicated on that question, and that the court could not offer an advisory opinion at that stage.

On February 25, 2012, the District Court (Judge Phillips) found that Mr. Hamdi had satisfied his burden of showing his eligibility for citizenship. He had not given intentionally false testimony to obtain benefits, and as such was not precluded form demonstrating good moral character. On February 28, 2012, the Court ordered that USCIS grant his application for naturalization.

On May 10, 2012, Mr. Hamdi was sworn in as an American Citizen.

On August 29, 2012, the Court ordered that the respondents pay Mr. Hamdi's attorneys' fees.

Nadji Allan - 09/25/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Classification / placement
Religious programs / policies
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration
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.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Homeland Security
United States Citizenship and Immigration Service
Plaintiff Description Tarek Hamdi, a national of Egypt, lived in the United States for over 30 years. After marrying a U.S. citizen, he became a lawful permanent resident and, in 2001, he applied to naturalize as a U.S. citizen.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU of Southern California
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
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)
5:10−cv−00894 (C.D. Cal.) 05/20/2013
IM-CA-0074-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Petition for De Novo Review of Denial of Application for Naturalization and Request for a Hearing 06/16/2010
IM-CA-0074-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting-in-Part and Denying-in-Part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 12/14/2011 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0074-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law 02/25/2012 (2012 WL 632397)
IM-CA-0074-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Minute Order Granting Petitioner's Motion for Attorneys' Fees 08/29/2012 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0074-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bristow, David T. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
IM-CA-0074-9000
Phillips, Virginia A. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
IM-CA-0074-0002 | IM-CA-0074-0003 | IM-CA-0074-0004 | IM-CA-0074-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Arulanantham, Ahilan T (California)
IM-CA-0074-0001 | IM-CA-0074-9000
Chavez, Lucero (California)
IM-CA-0074-9000
Helzer, Belinda Escobosa (California)
IM-CA-0074-9000
Pasquarella, Jennifer (California)
IM-CA-0074-0001 | IM-CA-0074-9000
Vakili, Bardis (California)
IM-CA-0074-9000
Villagra, Hector O. (California)
IM-CA-0074-0001 | IM-CA-0074-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bauer, Jeffrey Michael (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0074-9000
Hollis, Christopher W. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0074-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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