February 11, 2008

US District Court Cites Report by Immigration Ombuds

Four years after Mohammed Ahmadi filed an application to adjust his status with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), the FBI still had not completed its background check. Ahmadi filed suit in U.S. District Court and alleged unreasonable delay in the processing of his application and requested that the Court compel adjudication of his application. In a decision published this week, the Court denied the Government's motion to dismiss the suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. The Court found that CIS's decision to wait for the FBI to complete its check may be unreasonable and pointed to the CIS Ombudsman's 2007 Annual Report to Congress. That report by Prakash Khatri said that "[T]he FBI name check process has limited value to public safety or national security, especially because in almost every case the Applicant is in the United States during the name check process, living and working without restriction." (Ahmadi v. Chertoff, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96178 (N.D. Tex. Nov. 27, 2007) [subscription required]; CIS Ombudsman's 2007 Annual Report.)

Although this decision of a trial court does not create precedent, it is reassuring to see an Ombuds report cited as credible evidence of the need for transparency and reasonableness in the Executive Branch.

Related posts: Lawsuits Seeking Immigration Reform Cite Ombuds Report; US Immigration Officials Rejects Ombuds' Reform Proposal; Immigration Ombuds Cites FBI Delays as Major Immigration Problem; Summaries of Forums Hosted by Immigration Ombuds Available Online.

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