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Immigration Law

Massive U Visa and APA Victory: Barrios Garcia v. DHS (CA6)

Barrios Garcia v. DHS

"Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged that USCIS has unreasonably delayed the adjudication of their U-visa applications. Because the BFD process was issued after Plaintiffs’ complaints were filed, Plaintiffs should be allowed to amend their complaints should they wish to assert that USCIS has unreasonably delayed its determination that their U-visa applications are “bona fide.” ... We hold that the issuance of the BFD Process moots no part of this case. We hold that 5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(1), 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii), and 5 U.S.C. § 701(a)(2) do not bar the federal courts from reviewing claims that USCIS has unreasonably delayed placing principal petitioners on the U-visa waitlist and adjudicating prewaitlist work-authorization applications. We hold that the federal courts may compel USCIS to place principal petitioners on the U-visa waitlist when an unreasonable delay has occurred per 5 U.S.C. § 706(1). We hold that § 706(1) allows the federal courts to command USCIS to hasten an unduly delayed “bona fide” determination, which is a mandatory decision under 8 U.S.C. § 1184(p)(6) and the BFD process. We hold, however, that the federal courts cannot invoke 5 U.S.C. § 706(1) to force USCIS to speed up an unduly delayed prewaitlist work-authorization adjudication, which is a nonmandatory agency action under 8 U.S.C. § 1184(p)(6) and the BFD process. We hold that Plaintiffs have sufficiently pleaded that USCIS has unreasonably delayed the principal petitioners’ placement on the U-visa waitlist. We further hold that Plaintiffs should be permitted to amend their complaints should they wish to challenge any delayed “bona fide” determinations. We thus REVERSE the district courts’ grants of the Government’s motions to dismiss and REMAND for further proceedings."

[Hats way off to Brad Banias!]