Yacoub v. Blinken

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ) POULA YACOUB, et al., ) ) Plaintiffs, ) ) v. ) Civil Action No. 21-cv-983 (TSC) ) ANTONY J. BLINKEN, in his official ) capacity as United States Secretary of State, ) et al., ) ) Defendants. ) ) MEMORANDUM OPINION Plaintiffs are nineteen United States citizens who are seeking K-1 immigration visas for their fiancées and fiancés. They allege that Defendants—U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Department of State (the “Department”)—violated the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to adjudicate their visa applications within a reasonable time and suspending the issuance of visas during the COVID-19 pandemic in a manner that was arbitrary and capricious, Compl. ¶¶ 51–58; id., Claims for Relief ¶¶ 1–9, 17, and they seek a writ of mandamus to compel Defendants to adjudicate their visa applications, id. ¶¶ 20–24. Defendants have moved to dismiss Plaintiffs’ lawsuit, ECF No. 5, Defs. Mot., and for reasons explained below, the court will GRANT Defendants’ motion. I. BACKGROUND A. K-1 Visas The K-1 nonimmigrant visa, commonly known as a “fiancé(e) visa,” is for the foreign- citizen fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen. Compl. ¶ 29 (citing Nonimmigrant Visa for Fiancé(e) (K-1), U.S. Department of State, available at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us- visas/immigrate/family-immigration/nonimmigrantvisa-for-a-fiance-k-1.html#1 (last accessed Sept. 29, 2022) [hereinafter DOS Nonimmigrant Visa Information]). The recipient of a K-1 visa may travel to the U.S. to marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival and apply for lawful permanent resident status after the marriage. Id. (citing DOS Nonimmigrant Visa Information). To be eligible to apply for a K-1 visa, the petitioning U.S. citizen fiancé(e) must submit a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). Id. ¶ 30 (citing DOS Nonimmigrant Visa Information). If USCIS approves the Form I-129F, it forwards the approved form to the State Department’s National Visa Center (“NVC”). Id. (citing DOS Nonimmigrant Visa Information). NVC is tasked with notifying the appropriate U.S. Embassy or consular office of the approved Form I-129F, and the consular office in turn sends the foreign-citizen fiancé(e) instructions on how to apply for the visa. Id. (citing DOS Nonimmigrant Visa Information). B. Regional Proclamations In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump issued five “Regional Proclamations” suspending entry of immigrants under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”), which authorizes the President to “suspend the entry” of all or any class of immigrants or nonimmigrants when the President “finds that the entry . . . would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” Id. These proclamations restricted entry for persons who, within fourteen days of seeking entry, were physically present within areas with high risk of transmitting COVID-19. Proclamation No. 9984, 85 Fed. Reg. 6,709 (Feb. 5, 2020) (Republic of China); Proclamation No. 9992, 85 Fed. Reg. 12,855 (Mar. 4, 2020) (Iran); Proclamation No. 9993, 85 Fed. Reg. 15,045 (Mar. 16, 2020) (Schengen Area); Proclamation Page 2 of 15 No. 9996, …

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals