Rasool v. Mayorkas

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ASO RASOOL, Plaintiff, v. Case No. 1:21-cv-02367 (TNM) ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, in his official capacity as United States Secretary of Homeland Security, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM ORDER Plaintiff Aso Rasool sues Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Andrew Davidson—chief of the Asylum Division of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)—for “unreasonable delay” in adjudicating his asylum application. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF No. 1. Defendants move to transfer this case to the Eastern District of Virginia or, in the alternative, to dismiss. See Mot. to Transfer and Dismiss (Mot. to Transfer), ECF No. 9. Mindful that they bear the burden to show that transfer is warranted, the Court will grant their motion under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). 1 See SEC v. Savoy 1 Defendants urge the Court to transfer the case under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) rather than § 1404(a). See Mot. to Transfer at 9 n.2. Transfer under § 1406 is proper when the Court determines that venue is lacking. See § 1406(a) (“The district court of a district in which is filed a case laying venue in the wrong division or district shall dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer such case[.]”) (emphasis added). Section 1404(a) is proper when the Court determines that it would be more convenient for a case to be heard elsewhere. See § 1404(a) (“For the convenience of parties and witnesses, in the interest of justice, a district court may transfer any civil action[.]”) (emphasis added). The Court need not decide whether venue is proper here because it determines that it is more convenient for the case to be heard in the Eastern District. Thus, the Court will evaluate this case for transfer under § 1404(a). Indus., Inc., 587 F.2d 1149, 1154 (D.C. Cir. 1978) (finding that the movant “bear[s] the burden of persuasion on the transfer issue”). First, the Court examines whether Rasool could have brought his claim in the Eastern District. Ctr. for Env’t Sci., Accuracy & Reliability v. Nat’l Park Serv., 75 F. Supp. 3d 353, 356 (D.D.C. 2014) (“The first step in resolving a motion for transfer of venue under § 1404(a) is to determine whether the proposed transferee district is one where the action might have been brought.”) (cleaned up). Where the defendant is “an agency of the United States” or “an officer or employee of the United States or any agency thereof acting in his official capacity,” 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) governs venue. See Montgomery v. Barr, 502 F. Supp. 3d 165, 174 (D.D.C. 2020). Section 1391(e)(1) provides that a plaintiff may bring a civil action “in any judicial district in which (A) a defendant in the action resides, (B) a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred . . . or (C) the plaintiff resides if no real property is involved in the action.” Rasool resides in the Eastern District. See Compl. …

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