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Milligan v. Pompeo, Nov. 19, 2020
"This case features “pair[s] of star-crossed lovers” on whose lives, like Romeo and Juliet’s, a plague has wreaked havoc. In that tragedy, news of Juliet’s ruse never reaches Romeo because an “infectious pestilence” forces a quarantine that blocks the message’s delivery. Here, similarly, COVID-19 has kept apart our Plaintiffs — 153 U.S. citizens and their foreign-born fiancé(e)s. Each of these cross-border couples wishes to reunite and marry in the United States, but, given the pandemic, none has been able to obtain the visa necessary for the foreigner to travel to America. Some fiancé(e)s have been barred because the State Department has interpreted Presidential Proclamations to prohibit certain visa adjudications for people who reside in particular countries. Others, unaffected by the Proclamations, face the State Department’s protracted delays in processing their visas. Believing State’s actions to be unlawful, Plaintiffs have brought this suit against the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Acting Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the Departments of State and Homeland Security. They now move for a preliminary injunction, asking this Court to both enjoin the State Department’s visa-processing suspension and to compel the Government to adjudicate their visas more expeditiously. They succeed in part. The Court agrees with Plaintiffs that State has acted unlawfully in suspending visa issuances based on the Presidential Proclamations, but it finds that Defendants have the better argument on the delay claim. The Court will thus grant in part and deny in part Plaintiffs’ Motion."