Amended Complaint Filed in Visagate Case

Posted on: January 20th, 2016
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Here’s the case update I just posted on the Visagate Facebook page:

“Good evening everyone. As we mentioned last week, we had a deadline of today to file our amended complaint. That has now happened. The amended complaint can be found below.

There have been a number of important changes and expansions from the original complaint filed in September. The following summarizes them:

1. We have added and subtracted a named plaintiff. The additional plaintiff, Mr. N. Chitturi, has a child who is facing aging out if he cannot file his adjustment application soon.

2. We have a new line of argument relating to the statutory and regulatory requirement that DOS maintain a waiting list of green card applicants. USCIS and DOS are supposed to cooperate to maintain this list which is necessary to determine the order for taking adjustment applications. That list has never been properly maintained which means that DOS and USCIS have simply picked arbitrary filing dates for the revised bulletin and that if they had maintained a proper waiting list, they would not have needed to withdraw the initial Visa Bulletin. The statutory language establishes a liberty interest for the plaintiffs.

3. The revision also violates due process rights. While we’ve made due process arguments in the initial complaint, we’ve since learned that members of Congress applied undue pressure on USCIS and DOS to revise the Visa Bulletin. This led the agencies to change the Visa Bulletin post-issuance for the the first time in decades (aside from the 2007 revision which was subsequently reversed). As we note, “The Defendants have for years issued Visa Bulletins, expecting immigrants to rely on them and without revisions such as these . Additionally, they have used filing dates for years as well. These are de facto policies and the plaintiffs have a property interest in the benefits which were arbitrarily and capriciously denied to them.”

4. We explain to the judge the falsehood of the government’s contention in its response to our TRO motion that they made a mistake in calculating the dates in the original Visa Bulletin. USCIS has made various admissions in the months since which we point out. We also note other information we have to support our conclusion which is not public and which require us to have discovery to verify.

5. We counter the government’s contention that the Visa Bulletin’s issuance before the beginning of the month is a courtesy and argue that it is a binding policy statement.

6. We argue that if the government, in fact, made a mistake, that doesn’t relieve them of their obligations to the plaintiffs. USCIS must accept accountability for its mistakes.

7. We argue that the government’s interpretation of “immediately available” is arbitrary and capricious and the government has interpreted the term previously in a more liberal way on previous occasions.

8. We argue that USCIS was planning on pulling the Visa Bulletin for some time before it made its announcement, evidenced by its cancelling the stakeholder conference scheduled the week after the initial bulletin was released. The delay in making the announcement caused many millions of additional dollars to needlessly be spent.

9. We add the argument that violations of administrative regulations support civil liability in contract and tort. The reliance damage in this case arises in contract. Therefore, we are seeking both the restoration of the original bulletin’s filing dates AND financial compensation for the damages suffered.

I’ll have more to add regarding next steps soon and the various deadlines. But we think today’s filing helps our cause.”

And here’s the link to the amended complaint.