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Santos v. Lynch

United States District Court, E.D. California

June 29, 2016

IRIS SANTOS, Plaintiff,
v.
LORETTA LYNCH, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND (ECF NOS. 23, 24, 25, 27, 28)

         On 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.[1] (ECF No. 28.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is granted without leave to amend.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff 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.)

         Plaintiff 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.)

         On 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.)

         Plaintiff 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 ¶¶ 58-61.)

         II.

         LEGAL STANDARDS FOR MOTIONS TO DISMISS

         Under 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).

         Under 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.

         Under 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.

         III.

...


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