Farroukh v. United States Citizenship & Immigration Services

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MOHAMMED M. K. FARROUKH, Plaintiff, v. Case No. 23-cv-198 (CRC) UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES, et al., Defendants. OPINION AND ORDER Mohammed M.K. Farroukh is a Palestinian from the West Bank who in June 2015 applied for asylum in the United States, citing fear of persecution. In August 2018, he also applied for permanent residency. After two separate interviews with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and almost eight years since his initial application, Mr. Farroukh had received no decision from the agency. He thus filed this suit to compel USCIS to adjudicate his applications, pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, and the Mandamus Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1361. USCIS now moves to transfer the case to the Eastern District of Virginia, where Farroukh currently resides, or else dismiss the case for improper venue pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(3). Farroukh opposes the motion but requests that if the Court finds venue lacking in D.C., it transfer the case to the District of Maryland rather than the Eastern District of Virginia. The Court agrees with USCIS that the District of Columbia is not a proper venue for this case. However, considering the convenience of the parties and the interests of justice, the Court will grant Farroukh’s request to transfer the case to the District of Maryland, which the government does not oppose. I. Background As alleged in the complaint, Farroukh applied for asylum in June 2015 and USCIS acknowledged receipt of his application from its Arlington, Virginia field office one month later. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 8; Compl. Ex. A. Then, in August 2018, while his asylum application was still pending, Farroukh applied for permanent residency. Id. ¶ 17. He alleges that he “greatly fears persecution if he returns to Palestinian Territories on the basis of his historical persecution” and that he “has been unable to fully start his life in the United States without fear of potentially returning to Palestinian Territories, where he may face further persecution.” Id. ¶¶ 5, 13. Though Farroukh had interviewed with USCIS in connection with both of his applications, at the time this suit was filed in January 2023, the agency had not provided an update on either one. See id. ¶¶ 9–12, 18–19. 1 Farroukh challenges USCIS’s failure to adjudicate his applications as violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 706, and the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1158. Id. ¶¶ 24–51. In lieu of a responsive pleading, USCIS filed the instant motion to transfer this case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or to dismiss the case altogether for improper venue. See Mot. to Transfer at 1–10. Farroukh opposes and, in the alternative, requests that the case be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. See Pl.’s Opp’n at 8–11. 1 USCIS notes that Farroukh’s asylum application was denied on March 3, 2023, …

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