News & Resources

Doe v. Wolf: Challenging the mass denial of refugee status to Iranian religious minorities

In April 2018, we filed a class action lawsuit challenging the mass denial of refugee applications of nearly 90 Iranians of persecuted minority faiths who had traveled to Vienna at the invitation of the U.S. government to be processed under the Lautenberg Amendment, a special law that facilitates refugee resettlement. The denials stranded class members away from family members in the United States.

The case alleges that the government violated the law by failing to describe the basis of the denials and by changing policies for this historically successful program. 

In July 2018 the court vacated the denials and ordered the government to disclose individualized reasons for the denials, which led to 16 applicants being permitted to reunite with their families in the United States. Following discovery, we continue to advance the claim that vetting changes that led to the mass denials were unlawful.

Latham & Watkins LLP is co-counsel in this litigation.

Follow the Case

  • April 18, 2018 Complaint

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  • April 20, 2018 Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

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  • May 18, 2018 Plaintiffs’ Amended Motion for Class Certification

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  • June 4, 2018 Defendants’ Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

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  • June 4, 2018 Defendants’ Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification

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  • June 11, 2018 Plaintiffs’ Reply in support of Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

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  • June 11, 2018 Plaintiffs’ Reply in support of Motion for Class Certification

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  • July 10, 2018 District Court Order Granting Plaintiffs’ Motions for Partial Summary Judgment and Class Certification

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  • July 2, 2020 First Amended Complaint (Redacted)

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  • July 16, 2020 Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss

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  • August 13, 2020 Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss

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  • September 2, 2020 Defendants’ Reply in support of Motion to Dismiss

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  • Court docket available here

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  • After Lawsuit Win, First Iranian Refugees Travel from Austria to the U.S.

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  • Press Release: District Court Sides With Iranian Refugees Unlawfully Denied Asylum

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  • Press Release: Groups File Class Action Challenge to Unprecedented Mass Denials of Iranian Refugees in the Lautenberg-Specter Program

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  • Press Release: IRAP Statement on the Denial of U.S. Asylum for Iranians in the Lautenberg Program

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