Bultasa Buddhist Temple of Chi v. Kirstjen M. Nielsen

In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit No. 17‐1813 BULTASA BUDDHIST TEMPLE OF CHICAGO, et al., Plaintiffs‐Appellants, v. KIRSTJEN M. NIELSEN, Secretary of Homeland Security, et al., Defendants‐Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 15 C 9378 — John Z. Lee, Judge. ARGUED OCTOBER 30, 2017 — DECIDED DECEMBER 22, 2017 Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and BAUER and EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judges. BAUER, Circuit Judge. In October 2015, the Bultasa Buddhist Temple of Chicago, Jung Eun Lee, and Soung Youl Cho (collectively, “Appellants”) filed this suit against the Secretary 2 No. 17‐1813 of the Department of Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (collectively, “Appellees”), seeking review of various actions related to Lee’s and Cho’s immigra‐ tion status. The district court granted Appellees’ motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm. I. BACKGROUND In November 2005, Cho was admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant student on an F‐1 visa, and Lee was admitted as his spouse on an F‐2 visa. On March 17, 2006, Bultasa Buddhist Temple filed an I‐129 petition with USCIS, seeking to obtain a nonimmigrant religious worker visa (R‐1 visa) for Lee so that she could serve as the Temple’s organist. That petition was sent to USCIS’s California Service Center (CSC) and remained pending there for almost four years, despite Appellants’ submission of a premium processing request. Finally, on October 19, 2009, a CSC representative inquired whether the Temple was still interested in pursuing the petition. That representative informed the Temple that USCIS intended to approve the petition and retroactively amend Lee’s status, such that she would have had lawful status from June 1, 2006, to May 31, 2009. The CSC representative also informed the Temple it would be allowed to apply for an extension for the remaining period of eligibility, which would run from June 1, 2009, to May 31, 2011. This arrangement would have given Lee lawful status continuously from June 1, 2006, to May 31, 2011. No. 17‐1813 3 The CSC then approved the Temple’s original I‐129 petition on October 22, 2009. The approval notice, however, stated that the R‐1 visa was valid only until May 31, 2009. The Temple filed a petition to extend that visa on December 17, 2009, under the impression that CSC would approve the extension and apply it retroactively to a June 1, 2009, start date, per the arrangement described above. The CSC approved the exten‐ sion, but only to start from May 11, 2010, and run until October 22, 2011. As a result, on the face of the visa and extension approvals, there was a gap in Lee’s lawful status from June 1, 2009, to May 10, 2010. This proved problematic when the Temple filed an I‐360 petition on Lee’s behalf seeking classification as a special immigrant religious worker in November 2010. The application stated that Lee had worked for ...

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