United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for
Remand, requesting remand of this matter to the United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services for adjudication. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendants'
Rashid (“Plaintiff”) filed his complaint in
September 2014 seeking a hearing on his naturalization
application after United States Citizenship and Immigration
Services (“USCIS”) failed to adjudicate his
application within one hundred and twenty days of his
interview, which occurred on September 20, 2012. Compl. at
¶¶ 1, 16, & 24, Exh. D; Declaration of Francine
M. Leonis (“Leonis Decl.”), ECF No. 15-1, at
¶ 4. Two months later, the parties filed a Joint
Stipulation informing the Court that Plaintiff had been
referred into removal proceedings and requesting that the
matter be held in abeyance pending resolution of the removal
proceedings. ECF No. 6. The Court granted the abeyance and
ordered future status reports. ECF No. 7; see also
ECF Nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, & 14. As of December 30,
2016, removal proceedings had terminated and the Court gave
the parties until February 6, 2017, to file a status report.
ECF Nos. 13 & 14. On the status date, Defendants filed
the present motion, which Plaintiff opposes. ECF Nos. 15
USCIS fails to make a determination on an application for
naturalization “before the end of the 120-day period
after the date on which the examination is conducted under [8
U.S.C. § 1446], the applicant may apply to the United
States district court for the district in which the applicant
resides for a hearing on the matter.” 8 U.S.C. §
1447(b); 6 U.S.C. § 271(b)(2) (USCIS is responsible for
adjudicating naturalization petitions). The district court
then “has [exclusive] jurisdiction over the matter and
may either determine the matter or remand the matter, with
appropriate instructions, to the Service to determine the
matter.” Id.; U.S. v. Hovsepian, 359
F.3d 1144, 1164 (9th Cir. 2004).
ask the Court to remand the case to USCIS with instructions
to adjudicate within sixty days. They submit a declaration
that states USCIS is ready to move forward with adjudication
and resolve the application within that sixty day time frame.
Leonis Decl. ¶¶ 12, 14. They argue that remand is
appropriate because USCIS has the necessary expertise and is
uniquely suited to determine naturalization eligibility. Mot.
at 2. Defendants point out that even if Plaintiff's
application is denied, Plaintiff can return to the district
court to seek de novo review of that decision. Mot. at 3; 8
U.S.C. § 1421(c).
asks the Court to deny the motion and issue a scheduling
order for adjudication of Plaintiff's application.
Plaintiff states that, due to the delay and Defendants'
actions, he believes his application has been subject to
review under a secret program called the Controlled
Application Review and Resolution Program or
“CARRP.” Opp. at 2-3. Plaintiff's Opposition
primarily addresses the legality of CARRP. Id. at 3-
similar circumstances, the majority of district courts have
remanded the case to USCIS for adjudication. Manuilit v.
Majorkas, No. 3:12-cv-04501-JCS, 2012 WL 5471142, at *3
(N.D. Cal. Nov. 9, 2012). These courts have reasoned that
USCIS is better equipped to handle these cases and has more
expertise than district courts in adjudicating applications.
See, e.g., Deng v. Chertoff, No. C 06-7697
SI, 2007 WL 1501736, at *1 (N.D. Cal. May 22, 2007).
Plaintiff's application had been pending for nearly two
years when Plaintiff filed his complaint, remand is the
appropriate course of action in this case. USCIS's
expertise in this area and assurances that the matter will be
adjudicated quickly upon remand warrant such action. In the
few cases where a district court opted to adjudicate the
matter itself, the application had been pending for a lengthy
period and the defendants failed to assure the court that a
swift decision could be made on remand. See Astafieva v.
Gonzales, No. C 06-04820 JW, 2007 WL 1031333, at *3
(N.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2007) (“Plaintiff's application
has been pending for thirty-five months . . . and Defendants
have provided no indication when action might be taken on her
application.”); Lifshaz v. Gonzales, No. C
06-1470 MJP, 2007 WL 1169169 (W.D. Wash. Apr. 19, 2007)
(setting an evidentiary hearing for a naturalization
application where the defendant contended it could not make a
decision on the plaintiff's naturalization because the
FBI had not completed a namecheck on the plaintiff;
permitting the defendant to file a motion to remand if it
determined it was ready to make a decision on the application
before the hearing). Here, however, Plaintiff can expect a
resolution within sixty days of this order. Furthermore,
Plaintiff provides no legal basis for this Court to
adjudicate the application due to Plaintiff's suspicion
that his application has been subject to additional scrutiny
under CARRP. Such suspicions do not warrant retention given
the present circumstances.
reasons set forth above, the Court GRANTS Defendants'
Motion to Remand. The matter is remanded to USCIS with
instructions to reopen and complete adjudication within 60
days from the date of this order. The parties are further
ordered to file a joint status report within five days of
completion of the adjudication by USCIS. All filing deadlines
are suspended and this case is stayed pending an order from
the Court to reopen or dismiss this action.