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Case Name Arapi v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services IM-MO-0003
Docket / Court 4:16-cv-00692 ( E.D. Mo. )
State/Territory Missouri
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Case Summary
On May 18, 2016, thirteen lawful permanent residents (LPRs) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Plaintiffs sued U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under the Immigration and ... read more >
On May 18, 2016, thirteen lawful permanent residents (LPRs) filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Plaintiffs sued U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), and the Declaratory Judgment Act. The plaintiffs, represented by a private immigration law firm, claimed that USCIS had unlawfully delayed adjudicating their naturalization applications by classifying them under its CARRP (Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program) policy. The plaintiffs sought an injunction compelling USCIS to dismantle CARRP policies and to adjudicate the plaintiffs' applications, and a declaratory judgment that CARRP violated the INA, APA, the Naturalization Clause of the Constitution, and the Due Process Clause under the Fifth Amendment. Subsequently, on June 21, 2016, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, increasing the number of plaintiffs to twenty. The plaintiffs were all from countries with significant Muslim populations — Albania, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Nigeria, Bosnia, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali, and Sudan.

USCIS's CARRP policy directed adjudicating officers to identify any immigration benefits application by any applicant that might implicate a "national security concern." When so classified, the officers were required to delay or deny the application. Although the total number of people subject to CARRP is not known, USCIS data revealed that between 2008 and 2012, more than 19,000 people from twenty-one Muslim-majority countries or regions were subjected to CARRP. CAARP's definition of a "national security concern" was broader than the INA's, drawing on the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database, which the plaintiffs alleged was based on vague, overbroad, and uncorroborated information.

All the plaintiffs in this case submitted naturalization applications that were subject to CAARP. Some of the plaintiffs had already also had naturalization interviews and examinations, part of the statutorily defined naturalization process under the INA. That statute specified that USCIS must process a naturalization application within 180 days from the filing date and within 120 days of the interview and examination date. All the plaintiffs had been waiting for a decision for longer than the 180-day period -- in one case, for more than two years. Further, USCIS did not notify plaintiffs that they had been classified under CARRP, nor did the plaintiffs have an opportunity to respond to this action.

In addition to the INA claim, the plaintiffs challenged CARRP as a violation of the APA due to USCIS's arbitrary and capricious action and action contrary to law. CARRP never passed through the APA's notice-and-comment rulemaking process, nor did Congress approve it. The plaintiffs alleged that the INA, rather than USCIS's additional non-statutory criteria, must govern naturalization entitlements because the Naturalization Clause of the Constitution empowers Congress to set naturalization law through statutes.

After the plaintiffs filed their complaints, during the rest of 2016, the individual plaintiffs filed three voluntary dismissal motions, after either USCIS had adjudicated their applications or the particular plaintiffs themselves had withdrawn them. By the end of 2016, only one plaintiff remained. On December 19, 2016, the defendants moved to dismiss the case, arguing that USCIS had already denied this plaintiff's application in October 2016, and so the Court lacked jurisdiction. In response, on January 3, 2017, the remaining plaintiff opposed the defendants' motion to dismiss, arguing that the Court retained jurisdiction because the litigation had started before the USCIS adjudication. The defendants replied on January 10.

On June 1, the defendants notified the Court that a federal grand jury had indicted the plaintiff for selling contraband cigarettes.

On August 24, the Court granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case. The Court held that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction. The Court stated that the plaintiff had failed to challenge USCIS's adjudication jurisdiction while the amended complaint was pending; that USCIS had already adjudicated and denied her naturalization application, thereby making the case moot; and that an appeal to the denial was pending in the agency, preventing ripeness. Further, the plaintiff lacked standing to procure a declaratory judgment as to CAARP's validity, due to unlikelihood of future injury. The Court thus dismissed the case without prejudice. 2017 WL 3658916.

This case is now closed.

Ava Morgenstern - 01/18/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Religion discrimination
General
Government Services (specify)
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Timeliness of case assignment
Wait lists
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Status/Classification
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Indian
Other
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Mandamus, 28 U.S.C. § 1361
Defendant(s) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Plaintiff Description In the initial complaint, plaintiffs were thirteen lawful permanent residents (LPRs) from Albania, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Nigeria, Bosnia, whose naturalization applications USCIS delayed under its Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CAARP) policy. In the first amended complaint, plaintiffs were twenty LPRs from Albania, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, Egypt, Nigeria, Bosnia, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali, and Sudan.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2016
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  U.S. Immigration Department Sued Over "Unlawful Delay" Of Citizenship Applications Of Muslims
www.buzzfeed.com
Date: May 18, 2016
By: Ansari, Talal
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
4:16−cv−00692−JAR (E.D. Mo.)
IM-MO-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-MO-0003-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 05/18/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 3]
IM-MO-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/21/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of Claims by Certain Plaintiffs [ECF# 12]
IM-MO-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/28/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of Claims by Certain Plaintiffs [ECF# 16]
IM-MO-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/17/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Voluntary Dismissal of Claims by Certain Plaintiffs [ECF# 20]
IM-MO-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/08/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint [ECF# 22]
IM-MO-0003-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/19/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 25]
IM-MO-0003-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 28] (2017 WL 3658916) (E.D. Mo.)
IM-MO-0003-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Ross, John Andrew (E.D. Mo.)
IM-MO-0003-0008 | IM-MO-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hacking, James O. (Missouri)
IM-MO-0003-0001 | IM-MO-0003-0002 | IM-MO-0003-0003 | IM-MO-0003-0004 | IM-MO-0003-0005 | IM-MO-0003-0007 | IM-MO-0003-9000
West, Robert Andrew (Missouri)
IM-MO-0003-0002 | IM-MO-0003-0003 | IM-MO-0003-0004 | IM-MO-0003-0005 | IM-MO-0003-0007 | IM-MO-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Hollis, Christopher W. (District of Columbia)
IM-MO-0003-0006 | IM-MO-0003-9000
Rund, Jane (Missouri)
IM-MO-0003-0006 | IM-MO-0003-9000

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