On August 22, 2007, lawful permanent residents whose naturalization adjudications had been delayed more than 120 days filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of California against the DHS, FBI, DOJ, and USCIS. Plaintiffs alleged that the delay in adjudicating their naturalization applications ...
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On August 22, 2007, lawful permanent residents whose naturalization adjudications had been delayed more than 120 days filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of California against the DHS, FBI, DOJ, and USCIS. Plaintiffs alleged that the delay in adjudicating their naturalization applications violated the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 USC 1447(b)), which requires applications to be adjudicated within 120 days. Plaintiffs also claimed that defendants had violated the Administrative Procedures Act for unreasonable and extraordinary delay in adjudication and for failure to follow notice-and-comment requirements. Finally, they brought a claim for violation of due process.
The plaintiffs sought class certification on behalf of "[a]ll persons residing within the Southern District of California who have submitted or will submit applications for naturalization to CIS, and who have met all statutory requirements for naturalization, and whose applications for naturalization are not adjudicated within 120 days of the date of their naturalization examinations." They sought declaratory and injunctive relief. They also asked to be naturalized by the district court.
The ACLU brought the lawsuit as part of a nationwide effort to challenge systemic delays in naturalization caused by the USCIS decision to expand dramatically the databases used for the FBI name check. Using this over-inclusive database caused prolonged delays for lawful permanent residents who applied for citizenship.
On March 11, 2008, the District Court (Judge Roger T. Benitez) dismissed plaintiffs' claims with respect to the unreasonable delays, the notice-and-comment procedures, and due process. The court remanded the named plaintiffs' naturalization applications to the agency "with instructions that USCIS adjudicate plaintiffs' naturalization without unreasonable delay." On August 22, 2008, plaintiffs filed notice to appeal the district court's order to remand.
In April 2009, USCIS and the FBI undertook a "Joint Business Plan" that committed new resources to eliminating the backlog of delayed FBI name checks for naturalization applicants. That month, the appeal was voluntarily dismissed.
In August 2009, the district court denied plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees, finding that plaintiffs were not the prevailing parties. Jennifer Bronson - 11/10/2013