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Jan. 16, 2021 Order - "ORDERED that plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART; it is further ORDERED that defendants are preliminary ENJOINED from relying on the Presidential Proclamations to suspend plaintiffs’ visa adjudications or applying the Proclamations in any way that prohibits embassy personnel or consular officers from processing, reviewing, or adjudicating plaintiffs’ visa applications..."
Jan. 16, 2021 Memo - "Plaintiffs in this case are eighteen applicants for nonimmigrant O-1 and O-3 visas, which would allow them to enter the United States to further their professional careers in areas where they possess “extraordinary ability,” or as family members of such individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the visa application and interview process, creating challenges both for foreign nationals wishing to travel to the United States and for the diplomatic posts responsible for processing visa applications. Plaintiffs have been unable to obtain visas, in part because the State Department has interpreted broadly certain Presidential Proclamations that forbid entry of individuals who were in certain designated countries within fourteen days of their attempted entry into the United States, as prohibiting the Department from issuing visas to individuals residing in those designated countries. Plaintiffs have brought this suit to challenge the State Department’s visa policy as unlawful and to compel resumption the adjudication of their visas. To this end, they have moved for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the State Department’s visa-issuance suspension as contrary to the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 551 et seq., and to compel the State Department immediately to resume processing their visas on grounds of unreasonable delay. The Court agrees with plaintiffs—and the decisions of two other Judges in this district—that the State Department has acted unlawfully in suspending O-visa processing based on the Presidential Proclamations, which pertain only to entry, but defendants prevail on the delay claim. Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is therefore granted in part and denied in part."
[Hats off to Charles Kuck, Jeff Joseph and Greg Siskind!]