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Gomez v. Trump

United States District Court for the District of Columbia

September 4, 2020, Decided; September 4, 2020, Filed

Case No. 20-cv-01419 (APM); Case No. 20-cv-01856 (APM); Case No. 20-cv-01926 (APM); Case No. 20-cv-02128 (APM); Case No. 20-cv-1907 (APM)

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

These five consolidated cases concern recent actions taken by the President and the State Department to restrict the issuance of visas and entry of certain classes of foreign nationals into the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 20, 2020, the State Department temporarily suspended routine visa services at consular offices and embassies worldwide due to the pandemic, allowing only "emergency and mission critical visa services." Then, on April 20, 2020, the President issued Presential Proclamation 10014, which suspended the entry of all immigrants into the United States for two months unless they qualified for an exception to the Proclamation. That Proclamation was followed two months later [*17]  by Presidential Proclamation 10052, which extended the entry suspension for immigrants until December 31, 2020, and also suspended the entry of foreign nationals seeking admission on temporary nonimmigrant visas, with limited exceptions.

The State Department has interpreted Proclamations 10014 and 10052 to suspend not just entry, but also the review and adjudication of visas for applicants who are covered by the Proclamations and not subject to any of their exceptions. Consequently, at posts that have not resumed routine operations, visa processing and issuance have been suspended unless the applicant is both (1) eligible for an exception to the Proclamation and (2) considered "mission critical." Though these are distinct requirements, the exceptions to the Proclamations appear to heavily inform the types of applications considered to be mission critical. The State Department has begun a phased reopening since July 15, 2020, but even at posts that have resumed routine operations, the processing and issuance of covered, non-exempt visas remains suspended pursuant to the Department's interpretation of the Proclamations.

Plaintiffs in these five consolidated actions are approximately 1,076 [*18]  visa applicants, visa sponsors, and their derivative beneficiaries who represent various immigrant and nonimmigrant visa categories that are subject to the Proclamations' suspension of entry. Plaintiffs have all filed motions for preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders, seeking to preliminarily enjoin Defendants from implementing or enforcing the Proclamations, and two of the actions seek to certify six putative subclasses. Plaintiffs all challenge the validity of the Proclamations on various statutory and constitutional grounds, and they assert that the State Department's suspension of the processing and issuance of non-exempt visas pursuant to the Proclamations violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163352 *

DOMINGO ARREGUIN GOMEZ, et al., Plaintiffs, v. DONALD J. TRUMP, et al., Defendants. MOHAMMED ABDULAZIZ ABDUL MOHAMMED, et al., Plaintiffs, v. MICHAEL R. POMPEO, et al., Defendants. AFSIN AKER, et al., Plaintiffs, v. DONALD J. TRUMP, et al., Defendants. CLAUDINE NGUM FONJONG, et al., Plaintiffs, v. DONALD J. TRUMP, et al., Defendants. CHANDAN PANDA, et al., Plaintiffs, v. CHAD F. WOLF, et al., Defendants.

Prior History: Gomez v. Trump, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110132, 2020 WL 3429786 (D.D.C., June 23, 2020)

CORE TERMS

visa, Proclamations, diversity, immigrant, consular, nonimmigrant, suspended, selectees, issuance, aliens, injunction, Presidential, Trump, eligible, mission, certification, ineligible, routine, interview, fiscal, permanent, lottery, resume, suspension, travel, temporary, domestic, cleaned, sponsor, enjoin