Varghese v. Blinken

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA JIJO VARGHESE, Plaintiff, v. Case No. 21-cv-2597 (CRC) ANTONY BLINKEN, et al., Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION Plaintiff Jijo Varghese, a lawful permanent resident of the United States, seeks to compel the Department of State to adjudicate his wife’s U.S. visa application. Varghese filed a visa petition on his wife’s behalf four years ago. The government moved to dismiss this suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. Varghese opposed dismissal and moved for summary judgment on his claims. Because Varghese has not plausibly alleged that the delay of his wife’s visa application is unreasonable, the Court will grant the government’s motion to dismiss the case and deny Varghese’s summary judgment motion. I. Background Mr. Varghese is a lawful permanent resident of the United States who lives in Georgia. See Compl. ¶ 5; Varghese Decl. ¶¶ 2–3, ECF No. 6-1. His wife, Neethu Sara George, lives in India. Varghese Decl. ¶¶ 4, 9. In July 2018, Varghese filed a visa petition on George’s behalf. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 13. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) approved the petition in October 2019. Id. ¶ 13. On December 9 of that year, Varghese received confirmation that the Department of State had assigned a number to George’s application. Varghese Decl. ¶ 5. The application remains pending. Indeed, Varghese and George did not receive an update on its status until December 8, 2021—several months after the filing of this suit. Id. ¶ 8. In an email, the State Department’s National Visa Center (“NVC”) notified the couple that George’s immigration case had been “documentarily complete” since January 25, 2021. Id.; Pl.’s Ex. B (NVC email), ECF No. 6-3. Once an application is documentarily complete, the NVC coordinates with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate—in this case, in Mumbai1—to schedule an applicant interview. See Immigrant Visa Process, Step 9: Submit Documents, U.S. Dep’t of State, Bureau of Consular Affs., process/step-8-scan-collected-documents/step-9-upload-and-submit-scanned-documents.html (last visited July 29, 2022).2 Varghese alleges that, since receiving that notice, he and George have repeatedly inquired about George’s visa application and “received no meaningful responses . . . [or] status updates.” Mem. in Opp’n to Defs.’ Mot. Dismiss & in Supp. of Pl.’s Mot. Summ. J. (“Opp’n”) at 5, ECF No. 6; see also Varghese Decl. ¶ 7. As of July 29, 2022, the State Department’s website indicated that George’s visa was “ready” for an interview. In October 2021, Varghese brought suit against several government officials under the Administrative Procedure Act’s (“APA”) unreasonable delay provision, 5 U.S.C. § 706(1), and the Mandamus Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1361. Compl. ¶¶ 6–11, 13–33. Varghese asks the Court to compel the government to adjudicate his wife’s visa application under either Act. Id. ¶ 33. The government moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Federal 1 The prefix to George’s visa application number indicates that her application is ultimately headed for processing at the consulate in Mumbai, India. 2 The Court …

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