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United States District Court for the District of Columbia
October 9, 2020, Decided
Civil Action No. 19-3283 (RDM)
[*40] MEMORANDUM OPINION
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), a component [*41] of the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), Dkt. 1 at 3 (Compl. ¶ 12), receives millions of applications and petitions each year for immigration benefits. Dkt. 50 at 14-15. Many of these benefits are of no small consequence to applicants; they include "naturalization, lawful permanent residence, employment authorization, humanitarian benefits, and other forms of legal status." Id. at 15.
These benefits must be funded somehow, and DHS generally does so by charging fees for its services. In recent years, however, its costs have outstripped the fees it collects. See Dkt. 69-1 at 2; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements, 84 Fed. Reg. 62,280, 62,288 (Nov. 14, 2019) ("Proposed Rule"). To address this shortfall and to make various policy changes, DHS proposed a rule in November 2019 altering the fees it charges, shifting from an "ability-to-pay" to a "beneficiary-pays" model, charging a fee to apply for asylum for the first time, and reducing the availability of fee waivers for those of limited means. Id. at 62,280, 62,298. On August 3, 2020, the Department finalized that rule. See U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements, 85 Fed. Reg. 46,788 (Aug. 3, 2020) ("Final Rule" or "Rule"). The rule was set to take effect on October 2, 2020, id., but was [**4] recently enjoined by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Immigrant Legal Res. Ctr. v. Wolf, No. 20-cv-05883-JSW, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179599, 2020 WL 5798269 (Sept. 29, 2020).
Plaintiffs Northwest Immigrant Rights Project ("NWIRP"), Ayuda, Inc. ("Ayuda"), and CASA de Maryland, Inc. ("CASA") seek a stay of implementation or enforcement of the Rule pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. § 705, or in the alternative, a preliminary injunction against implementation and enforcement of the Rule. Dkt. 50 at 1. Defendants USCIS, DHS, Chad F. Wolf in his official capacity as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, and Kenneth T. Cuccinelli in his official capacity as Senior Official Performing the Duties of the USCIS Director and Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security oppose Plaintiffs' motion. Dkt. 69 at 12, 16. The Court heard oral argument on September 24, 2020, and received supplemental briefing on September 28, 29 and 30, 2020. Dkts. 78-82.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
496 F. Supp. 3d 31 *; 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 187410 **; 2020 WL 5995206
NORTHWEST IMMIGRANT RIGHTS PROJECT, et al., Plaintiffs, v. UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, et al., Defendants.
Subsequent History: Dismissed by, Motion granted by Northwest Immigrant Rights Project v. United States Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 1616 (D.C. Cir., Jan. 12, 2021)
acting secretary, immigration, naturalization, succession, appointed, final rule, Plaintiffs', designate, asylum, benefits, preliminary injunction, fee waiver, inferior officer, costs, seekers, serving, low-income, authorization, head of the department, purposes, functions, resignation, merits, proposed rule, vested, citizenship, delegation, quotation, vacancy, marks
Immigration Law, Asylum, Refugees & Related Relief, Asylum, Eligibility for Asylum, Civil Procedure, Injunctions, Grounds for Injunctions, Balance of Hardships, Remedies, Preliminary & Temporary Injunctions, Public Interest, Justiciability, Standing, Injury in Fact, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Elements, Third Party Standing, Burdens of Proof, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Allocation, Naturalization, Administrative Proceedings, Determination of Qualification, Appeals & Reconsiderations, Judicial Review, Governments, State & Territorial Governments, Employees & Officials, Legislation, Interpretation, Contracts Law, Ratification, Federal Government, Executive Offices, Administrative Law, Separation of Powers, Executive Controls, The Presidency, Appointment of Officials, Foreign Affairs, Commander in Chief, Congressional Duties & Powers, Presentment & Veto, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Substantial Evidence, Pleading & Practice, Motion Practice, Content & Form, Restriction on Removal, Administrative Proceedings, Eligibility Requirements