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Afghan and Iraqi Allies v. Blinken: Challenging systemic delays in deciding Special Immigrant Visa applications

In June 2018, we filed a class action challenge to the government’s systemic delays in deciding Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications of Afghan and Iraqi nationals whose lives are at risk because of their work supporting the United States in their home countries.

The lawsuit challenges the government’s egregious delay in deciding these applications despite the congressionally prescribed nine-month processing timeline. We filed this case because system-wide delays continued after a prior lawsuit.

In September 2019, the court ruled that the delays – as many as four years for an average applicant – are unlawful. This ruling led to a June 2020 court-approved adjudication plan in which the government committed to timeframes for promptly processing approximately 10,000 SIV applications and to report on its progress.

In October 2021, the parties agreed to a time-limited stay of relief while pursuing settlement negotiations. The agreed-upon stay concluded in March 2022 and plaintiffs did not agree to any further stay. The court nonetheless extended the stay and, in April 2022, granted the government’s motion for a further stay and denied plaintiffs’ motion to lift the stay. The parties are no longer in settlement negotiations and the Court’s April 2022 order is now on appeal.

On May 24, 2022, the government requested to be relieved of the Court’s orders in favor of plaintiffs, including the Court’s summary judgment order and the court-ordered adjudication plan for promptly processing already unreasonably delayed SIV applications. On June 24, 2022, plaintiffs opposed the government’s motion and moved to enforce and clarify the Court’s orders. Briefing on these motions is scheduled to conclude in August.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP is co-counsel in this litigation.

Follow the Case

  • June 12, 2018 Complaint

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  • June 12, 2018 – Motion for Class Certification

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  • July 12, 2018 – Amended Complaint

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  • July 26, 2018 – Defendants’ Class Certification Opposition

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  • August 16, 2018 – Plaintiffs’ Class Certification Reply

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  • September 7, 2018 – Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction

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  • September 28, 2018 – Defendants’ Preliminary Injunction Opposition

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  • October 16, 2018 – Plaintiffs’ Preliminary Injunction Reply

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  • January 30, 2019 – Opinion Denying Motion to Dismiss

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  • June 11, 2019 – Plaintiffs’ Supplement to Motion for Preliminary Injunction

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  • September 20, 2019 – Summary Judgment Opinion and Order

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  • February 5, 2020 – Class Certification Opinion and Order

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  • February 5, 2020 – Opinion Denying Reconsideration

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  • April 15, 2020 – Enforcement Order

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  • June 14, 2020 – Court-Approved Adjudication Plan

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  • October 2020 – Defendants’ First Progress Report and Errata

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  • January 2021 – Defendants’ Second Progress Report and Errata

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  • April 2021 – Defendants’ Third Progress Report and Errata

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  • July 2021 – Defendants’ Fourth Progress Report and Errata

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  • October 19, 2021 – Joint Stipulation

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  • March 16, 2022 – Joint Status Report

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  • May 13, 2022 – Joint Status Report

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  • May 24, 2022 – Defendants’ Motion for Relief from the Summary Judgment Order and Approved Adjudication Plan

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  • June 24, 2022 – Plaintiffs’ Combined Opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Relief and Cross-Motion to Enforce and Clarify the Court’s Orders

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  • July 1, 2022 – Afghan-American Foundation Motion for Leave to File Amicus Brief

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  • July 11, 2022 – Association of Wartime Allies and Veterans for American Ideals Motion for Leave to File Amicus Brief

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  • July 25, 2022 – Defendants’ Reply in Support of Their Motion for Relief and Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Cross-Motion

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  • August 15, 2022 – Plaintiffs’ Reply in Support of Their Cross-Motion to Enforce and Clarify the Court’s Orders

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  • Court docket available here

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  • Veterans and Afghan-American Groups Express Outrage at U.S. Government Attempt to Avoid Accountability for SIV Delays

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  • In New Court Filing, Biden Administration Moves to Abandon Its Obligations to Afghan and Iraqi SIV Applicants 

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  • Press Release: Following Court Victory for Iraqi and Afghan U.S. Allies, Government Submits Plan to Process Thousands of Delayed SIV Applicants

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  • Press Release: Court Rules For Thousands of Afghan and Iraqi Special Immigrant Visa Applicants Waiting For Their Visas

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  • Press Release: Court Finds Visa Delays Faced by Thousands of Afghans and Iraqis Who Assisted the United States Are Unlawful

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  • IRAP Lawsuit Reveals Government Flouts Congress, Reports Inaccurate Processing Times in SIV Program

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  • Court Allows Class Action Challenge to Delays in Special Immigrant Visa Program for Afghan and Iraqi Allies to Continue

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  • Press Release: IRAP & Freshfields File Class Action Challenge to Egregious Processing Delays in Special Visa Program for Afghan and Iraqi Allies

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