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