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Doe v. Jaddou: Challenging unlawful restrictions on resettled refugees’ ability to travel

This case challenges restrictions on the ability of resettled refugees to reenter the United States after temporary travel abroad.

Our client

Our plaintiff is an Iraqi refugee who fled persecution in her home country in 2016 and resettled in the United States with her two children, having made the difficult decision to leave behind her husband whose refugee application was still pending at the time. Soon after arriving in the United States, Jane Doe received devastating news: not only had her husband’s application been denied, but he had also received the same type of death threat her father was subject to before he was killed. Fearing for her husband’s safety and cognizant that she and her children may not have another chance to see him, Jane Doe rushed to arrange what was intended to be a temporary trip back to Iraq.

As a refugee, Jane Doe should be allowed to re-enter the United States under her refugee status without a travel document, but the U.S. Government refuses to readmit her without one. As such, Jane Doe applied for refugee travel documents from abroad for herself and her two children. For over five years, Jane Doe was forced to wait for a decision on her application all while she was stranded in Iraq and her family faced escalating threats of violence. Her application was ultimately denied while her two children were approved. As a result, Jane faced the choice between sending her children to safety in the United States by themselves—before their refugee travel documents were to expire on May 9, 2024—or having them remain in danger in Iraq, forfeiting their ability to return under their refugee status. 

Impact

On May 8, 2024, the court issued an order prohibiting the government from applying its unlawful refugee travel document policy to Jane Doe, an important step for her and her children to return to safety in the United States together.

Case status

Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP are co-counsel in this case.

Follow the Case

  • March 4, 2024 Complaint

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  • March 13, 2024 Preliminary Injunction

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  • March 26, 2024 Defendants’ Response to Plaintiff’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction

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  • April 2, 2024 Plaintiff’s Reply in Support of Motion for a Preliminary Injunction

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  • April 19, 2024 Defendants’ Supplemental Response to Plaintiff’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction

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  • April 24, 2024 Plaintiff’s Supplemental Reply in Support of Motion for a Preliminary Injunction

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  • May 8, 2024 Opinion Granting Plaintiff’s Preliminary Injunction

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