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Sigh! As if life is not hard enough down in the trenches …
A good thing that Judge Paul Friedman of the US District Court of the District of Columbia dismissed this case.
One plaintiff, proceeding in forma pauperis, filed a pro se complaint seeking to compel the issuance of a visa for his fiancée and requesting one million dollars in damages for the allegedly wrongful initial denial of the visa, and for “unreasonable harassment” and denial of civil rights in the process. Compl. at 2. The Court appointed pro bono counsel for the plaintiff and stayed the case to allow the parties time to resolve the matter. The plaintiff’s fiancé has since been issued a visa, and the plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service as a defendant. See Joint Status Report, July 30, 2009, ¶¶ 2, 4; Order, Aug. 11, 2009 (dismissing the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service as a defendant).
The plaintiff, however, asks the Court to admonish or sanction the remaining defendant, the U.S. Consul General in Mumbai, India, for its conduct in what plaintiff alleges was delay in the process of obtaining the visa. See Joint Status Report ¶ 5(a). The defendant contends that this Court has no jurisdiction over this matter, there was no wrong-doing by the defendant, the case has become moot with the issuance of a visa for the plaintiff’s fiancée and that therefore, the sole remaining party should be dismissed. See id. ¶ 5(b). The plaintiff has not identified either a cause of action upon which may be based a claim for sanctions, admonition, or damages against the U.S. Consul General for Mumbai, or a basis for this Court’s jurisdiction over such an action. The Court is aware of no such jurisdiction or cause of action. Accordingly, the complaint will be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
But that’s not all. Included in the papers is the Court’s expression of appreciation to Karen Grisez, Esq., and to the firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, for its able pro bono publico representation of the plaintiff, who was proceeding in forma pauperis.
In forma pauperis . Someone who is without the funds to pursue the normal costs of a lawsuit or criminal defense.
I know what you’re thinking. How did Romeo get around the I-134 requirement? I mean, if you can’t afford the normal cost of a lawsuit, how can you afford to live with your US-bound fiancée in America? The Affidavit of Support need to show that the sponsor’s income is 100 percent of federal poverty guidelines as required under Section 212(a)(4) of the INA. Um, okay, I get it — somebody else signed the I-134? But if the fiancee becomes a public charge later, would USCIS then turn around and deport her back to her … hmmn? no?
Did I say I’m glad the good judge dismissed this case? But darn, a million US dollars! That would have been as good as a lottery …