Logan v. Blinken

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA JANET MARIE LOGAN, Plaintiff, v. Civil Action No. 21-2275 (FYP) ANTONY BLINKEN, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION In June 2020, Plaintiff Janet Marie Logan submitted a visa petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) for her husband, Michael Owusu Yankson. The visa would allow Yankson, currently a resident of Ghana, to join his wife in the United States. Although the visa petition was approved by USCIS in July 2020, the application process subsequently stalled for over a year, prompting Logan to file this lawsuit against various government officials to compel the issuance of the visa. She alleges that the delayed processing of her husband’s visa application constitutes a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), see 5 U.S.C. §§ 555(b), 706(1), and the Mandamus Act, see 28 U.S.C. § 1361. Defendants now move to dismiss under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6); and Plaintiff moves for summary judgment under Rule 56. The Court concludes that Logan is not entitled to the relief that she seeks; and it therefore will grant Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss and will deny Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment. 1 BACKGROUND Logan filed an I-130 visa petition for her husband, Yankson, with USCIS in June 2020. See ECF No. 1 (Petition), ¶ 13; ECF No. 9-1 (Decl. of Janet Logan) (“Logan Decl.”), ¶ 4. In July 2020, USCIS approved the visa petition. See id. USCIS then transferred the case to the State Department’s National Visa Center (“NVC”), which processed the paperwork and necessary fees before referring the case for a visa interview at Yankson’s in-country consulate — the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. See ECF No. 7 (Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss) at 2–3. But during the pendency of the visa’s approval, the global COVID-19 pandemic “significantly disrupted the State Department’s ability to interview applicants,” and visa services in Ghana were delayed due to the backlog. See id. at 3. Globally, the pandemic reduced the number of immigrant visa issuances by nearly 75% between January 2020 and January 2021. See id. at 3–4. Although the U.S. Embassy in Ghana is currently conducting interviews, it is processing cases sequentially by priority date and is still working through the backlog of pandemic cases. Id. While the visa application was pending, Logan made multiple inquiries about its status, but did not receive any meaningful update on the scheduling of her husband’s interview. See Pet., ¶ 15. She filed suit in this court thirteen months after the initial approval of the visa petition. Id. She named as Defendants: Antony Blinken, the Secretary of State; Richard Visek, the Acting Legal Adviser of the State Department; Merrick Garland, the United States Attorney General; Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security; Christopher Wray, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”); Ur Jaddou, the Director of USCIS; Ian Brownlee, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Consular Affairs; and Nicole Chulick, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy …

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