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

This case challenges the U.S. government’s systemic delays in the processing of Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications of Afghan and Iraqi nationals whose lives are at risk because of their work supporting the United States.

Our clients in the case:  Our clients are Afghan and Iraqi nationals who are seeking SIVs because their work for the United States has put their lives at risk. Our clients are representing a class of similarly situated people who have been waiting for the government to process their SIV applications for longer than nine months. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP is our co-counsel.

Why our clients are bringing the case: Our clients are filing this case because they and their colleagues are at risk due to their work supporting U.S. efforts. The United States promised them a path to safety for their work when Congress created the SIV program and mandated that all government-controlled processing steps be completed in 9 months. In reality, our clients and others like them have been waiting for far longer than 9 months—often, for four years or more—while facing daily danger where they are.

The potential impact of this case: If successful, this case would bring accountability and transparency to the government’s processing of SIVs and would ensure that tens of thousands of SIV applicants see prompt decisions for their applications. 

Case status: The court has stayed the adjudication plan that was entered earlier in the case while the government has the opportunity to modify the plan. We have the opportunity to conduct discovery relating to the reasons for the modifications and to object to changes that are not justified.

Case history highlights:

  • June 12, 2018: Complaint is filed.
  • July 12, 2018: Amended complaint is filed.
  • September 20, 2019: Victory! The court grants summary judgment finding that the government has egregiously delayed the processing of SIV applications and orders the government to develop an adjudication plan within 30 days of the court’s class certification decision.
  • February 5, 2020: Victory! The court grants class certification, finding that this case can be brought on behalf of all Afghans and Iraqis who have applied for SIVs and have been awaiting a decision from the government for over 9 months.
  • June 14, 2020: Victory! The court approves the Adjudication Plan that the parties submit for adjudicating long-pending SIV applications. Monitoring begins.
  • October 2021: The parties agree to a time-limited stay of the Adjudication Plan and monitoring reports for settlement discussions.
  • March 2022: The agreed-upon stay is set to expire and settlement talks stall, but the court continues the stay of the Adjudication Plan and monitoring reports.
  • May 24, 2022: The government files a motion to no longer be bound by the September 20, 2019 summary judgment order and the June 14, 2020 adjudication plan.
  • November 30, 2022: The court denies the government’s motion to no longer be bound by  the summary judgment order but grants the government an opportunity to modify the June 14, 2020 adjudication plan while it continues to be stayed. The government has until February 2023 to modify the plan and the plaintiffs may take discovery and object to the plan as needed.

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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