United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS WITHOUT LEAVE TO
AMEND (ECF NOS. 23, 24, 25, 27, 28)
April 8, 2016, Defendants Jeh Johnson, John Kerry, Loretta
Lynch, and Charisse Phillips (“Defendants”) filed
a motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 23.) Plaintiff Iris Santos
(“Plaintiff”) filed an opposition on June 7,
2016. (ECF No. 16.) Defendants filed a reply on June 15,
2016. (ECF No. 25.) All parties have consented to the
jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge for all
purposes. (ECF Nos. 7, 8.) Oral argument on the motion to
dismiss was heard on June 22, 2016. Wahida Noorzad was
present for Plaintiff; and Audrey Hemesath appeared
telephonically for Defendants. The Court allowed the parties
to file simultaneous supplemental briefing regarding the
application of Cardenas v. United States of America,
No. 13-35957, 2016 WL 3408047 (9th Cir. 2016), to the instant
case. (ECF No. 26.) On June 24, 2016, Defendants filed their
supplemental brief. (ECF No. 27.) On June 27, 2016, Plaintiff
filed her supplemental brief. (ECF No. 28.) For the reasons set
forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted
without leave to amend.
filed a complaint in this matter on June 25, 2015. (ECF No.
1.) On March 31, 2016, Plaintiff filed a first amended
complaint (“FAC”). (ECF No. 20.)
is a United States citizen who filed I-130 immigrant visa
petitions on behalf of her parents, Carlos Santos (“Mr.
Santos”) and Maria Ramos (“Mrs. Santos”)
with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service
(“USCIS”) on May 24, 2013. (FAC ¶ 18.) The
USCIS approved the petitions and transferred the cases to the
United States Department of State for further processing.
(FAC ¶ 18.) The cases were then sent to the United
States Embassy in Guatemala (“U.S. Embassy”) for
visa processing. (FAC ¶ 18.)
February 9, 2015, the U.S. Embassy denied visas to Mr. Santos
and Mrs. Santos because they were inadmissible under INA
§ 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II) for having lived unlawfully in the
United States for a period exceeding 1 year. (FAC
¶¶ 1, 33.) On September 8, 2015, the consular
officer denied immigrant visas to Mr. and Mrs. Santos under
INA § 212(A)(9)(B)(i)(II) and also denied Mr.
Santos's visa because he was inadmissible under INA
§ 212(a)(6)(E), which states that “[a]ny alien who
at any time knowingly has encouraged, induced, assisted,
abetted, or aided any alien to enter or to try to enter the
United States in violation of law is in admissible.”
(FAC ¶¶ 1, 39.)
brings four claims in her complaint: 1) Defendants'
decision is not supported by the record and arbitrary and
capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act; 2)
Defendants' decision violated the Immigration &
Nationality Act; 3) Defendants' decision violated
Plaintiff's substantive due process rights under the
Constitution; 4) a claim for injunctive relief; and 5) a
claim for declaratory relief. (FAC ¶¶ 44-57.)
Plaintiff is seeking attorneys' fees and costs pursuant
to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. 2412. (FAC
STANDARDS FOR MOTIONS TO DISMISS
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a party may file a
motion to dismiss on the grounds that the complaint lacks
subject-matter jurisdiction. In addition, “[t]he Court
must dismiss the action when “the court determines at
any time that it lacks subject-matter jurisdiction.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3). The plaintiff bears the burden of
establishing jurisdiction. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins.
Co., 511 U.S. 375, 377 (1994); In re Dynamic Random
Access Memory (DRAM) Antitrust Litig., 546 F.3d 981, 984
(9th Cir. 2008).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may file a
motion to dismiss on the grounds that a complaint
“fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” A complaint must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “[T]he
pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not require
'detailed factual allegations, ' but it demands more
than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). In assessing the sufficiency of a
complaint, all well-pleaded factual allegations must be
accepted as true. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79.
However, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice.” Id. at 678.
Twombly and Iqbal “a complaint must
contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. This requires factual
content for the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct.
Id. A complaint stops short of the line between
probability and the possibility of relief where the facts
pled are merely consistent with a defendant's liability.
Id. Further, while the court is to accept all
“well pleaded factual allegations” in the
complaint as true, id. at 679, it is not bound to
accept as true labels, conclusions, formulaic recitations of
the elements of a cause of action or legal conclusions
couched as factual allegations, Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555. Finally, the conclusory allegations in the complaint are
not entitled to the presumption of truth. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 681.