Zandieh v. Pompeo

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHADI ZANDIEH, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Civil Action No. 20-919 (JEB) MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION Wishing to bring her parents to the United States, Shadi Zandieh (Shadi), a U.S. citizen and attending physician at Robert Wood University Hospital in New Jersey, filed I-130 Immigration Petitions for Alien Relatives on behalf of her Iranian-national father, Mohammadhossein Zandieh (Zandieh), and mother, Fakhrossadat Mardiha (Mardiha), in April 2016. Although the U.S. Government awarded Mardiha a visa in 2017, Zandieh has had no such luck. His efforts to obtain a waiver of visa restrictions remain in limbo. To compel the Government to act, Plaintiffs have filed the present action against the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. The current delay in waiver adjudication, Plaintiffs argue, amounts to a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., and the Constitution’s Due Process Clause. Defendants now move to dismiss for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). Although the Court finds that it does have jurisdiction to review Plaintiffs’ claims, it also concludes that they are entitled to no relief here. 1 I. Background A. Legal Background For U.S. citizens seeking to bring their foreign relatives to this country, the Immigration and Nationality Act requires that the process begins with the filing of a Form I-130 petition with the United States Customs and Immigration Service. See 8 U.S.C. § 1154; 8 C.F.R. § 204.1(a)(1), (b). If the petition is approved, the foreign national must then go to his local U.S. consulate to complete visa processing, which includes submitting an online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application and appearing for an interview with a consular officer. See 22 C.F.R. § 42.67(a)(3). After the interview, this officer must either issue the visa or refuse it. See id. § 42.81(a). If the latter, “he or she must inform the applicant of the provisions of law on which the refusal is based, and of any statutory provision under which administrative relief is available.” 9 Foreign Affairs Manual § 504.1-3(g). Throughout the process, the foreign national bears the burden of establishing that he “is not inadmissible” and “that he is entitled to the . . . status claimed.” 8 U.S.C. § 1361. Presidential Proclamation 9645, issued on September 24, 2017, established additional immigration restrictions that affect Zandieh’s application. See 82 Fed. Reg. 45,161 (Sept. 24, 2017). With limited exceptions, the Proclamation bars foreign nationals from seven countries, including Iran, from entering the United States. Id. at 45,163; see also Ghadami v. U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Sec., No. 19-397, 2020 WL 1308376, at *2 (D.D.C. Mar. 19, 2020). Notably, one provision specifies that “consular officer[s] . . . may, in their discretion, grant waivers on a case- by-case basis to permit the entry” of ...

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