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M.M.M. v. State: Challenging the U.S. government’s unfair application of the Child Status Protection Act to Afghan children

IRAP filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s determination that a group of Afghan children aged out of eligibility to immigrate to safety in the United States because of the government’s delays in adjudicating their parents’ Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applications.

Case background

Our clients in this case are four Afghan parents who applied to the SIV program based on their support for the U.S. government in Afghanistan, and one child of an SIV applicant whose parent was murdered by the Taliban. 

Although Congress has required that the government complete all processing steps for SIV applications within nine months, the government often takes years to adjudicate them. Our  plaintiffs applied to the SIV program when their children were as young as 14, but due to the government’s delayed processing timeline, the children turned 21 while the families waited years in uncertainty for a decision. The U.S. government now says these children are too old to immigrate to safety with their families, leaving the children trapped in dangerous circumstances.

The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was designed to protect children, like our Plaintiffs’ children, from aging out of pathways to safety due to government processing delays. While more recent Afghan SIV applicants are protected from age-outs under CSPA, the U.S. government treats longer-pending applications differently, for no reason other than that the applications were at a later stage of processing when the government made a policy change in 2022. This arbitrary distinction not only penalizes SIV applicants with long-pending applications like our Plaintiffs, who waited years in precarious conditions, but also forces parents to choose between remaining in danger in Afghanistan or leaving their children behind.


This case seeks to ensure that Afghan families are not penalized for the government’s processing delays and to bring Plaintiffs’ children safely to the United States.

Case status

Williams & Connolly LLP is co-counsel in this case.