10 Civ 02029 (NCG)(MSG)

Background:  NYLAG filed this class action in 2010 against the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) and the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of a class of immigrants granted asylum in the United States who are seeking to bring their spouses and children to this country. The lawsuit challenges a USCIS policy that threatens to deprive asylees of the opportunity to reunite their families in the United States.

Federal law enables asylees to petition the government to allow their spouses and unmarried children to join them in this country. Once the petitions are approved, relatives living abroad must appear at a U.S. consulate to obtain authorization to travel to the United States. Until recently, if a relative did not appear at a consulate or did not bring the requested documents, the approved petition was held until the relative could appear with the documents. The policy was changed so that when a relative did not appear at the consulate or bring the requested documents, USCIS automatically reopened and denied the petition that it had previously approved. This lawsuit challenges USCIS’s new asylee family reunification policy, charging the agency with acting in violation of its own regulations, taking actions that are arbitrary and capricious, and implementing a new policy without providing proper notice to the public.

Current Status:  The parties are currently engaged in settlement negotiations.

SLU Attorneys: Jane Greengold Stevens, Jennifer Magida

IPU Attorney: Melissa Chua