Alsaidi v. United States Department of State

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BOSHRA ALSAIDI, Plaintiff, v. Civil Action No. 17-0465 (ESH) UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE and UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, NATIONAL PASSPORT CENTER, Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION Plaintiff Boshra Alsaidi has sued the United States Department of State (“State Department”) and the National Passport Center (collectively “defendants”) alleging that defendants arbitrarily and capriciously refused to renew her passport based on an improper finding that she was not a citizen by birth, or that the reason given was a pretext for an informal policy of discrimination against Muslims or, more specifically, against people from Yemen. (Compl. ¶¶ 11–18, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff brings her claims under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. § 701, and the Mandamus Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1361 (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 4), and requests that the Court order the State Department to renew her passport and award her attorney’s fees. (Id. at 6, 7.) Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Def.’s Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 12 (“Mot.”).) Upon consideration of the parties’ pleadings and for the reasons discussed herein, the Court finds plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted and therefore grants defendants’ motion to dismiss. BACKGROUND I. FACTS Boshra Alsaidi was born in the United States in 1977. (Compl. ¶ 7.) At the time, her father was serving as Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Yemen Arab Republic to the United Nations. (Id. ¶¶ 7–8; Mot. Ex. A, ECF No. 12-1.) Alsaidi applied for and was first issued a U.S. passport on March 25, 2003. (Mot. Ex. B at 1, ECF No. 12-2.) She applied to renew her passport on January 4, 2013. (See Mot. Ex. A.) The National Passport Center denied her passport renewal application on February 23, 2013, stating that because Alsaidi was born while her father held a position that granted him and his immediate family diplomatic immunity and privileges, Alsaidi was “not born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” and therefore could not “benefit from the Fourteenth Amendment’s citizenship provision.”1 (Mot. Ex. A; Compl. ¶¶ 7–9.) II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY Plaintiff filed her complaint on March 15, 2017. The complaint contains two counts, each seeking the same remedy—an order requiring the State Department to renew plaintiff’s passport and award attorney’s fees. (See Compl. at 6, 7.) She brings both claims under the APA and the Mandamus Act (id. ¶¶ 1, 4), arguing that the State Department and National Passport Center denied her passport renewal application on the inaccurate basis that she was not a citizen 1 Although the denial letter was not attached to Alsaidi’s complaint, it is referenced therein and defendants have attached a copy as Exhibit A to their motion to dismiss. (Mot. Ex. A); see Ward v. Dist. of Columbia Dep’t of Youth Rehab. Servs., 768 F. Supp. 2d 117, 119 (D.D.C. 2011) (quoting Hinton v. Corr. Corp. of Am., 624 ...

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