IRANIAN NATIONALS

Adjudicator flowchart released by State Department in litigation discovery.

ARE YOU EXPERIENCING AN UNREASONABLE DELAY IN THE ADJUDICATION OF A TRAVEL BAN WAIVER?

You are not alone and we are here to help. Many Iranian national visa applicants refused under the travel ban are supposed to be automatically considered for waivers of the ban. However, most applicants experience unreasonable delays in the adjudication of their waivers. Part of the reason for the delays is that the hands of consular officers have been tied, as the Visa Office is unlawfully requiring its concurrence for all approvals, in some cases by Quality Support, Inc. contractors. 

 

One solution that we recommend is a writ of mandamus, a fancy term for a lawsuit with the goal of compelling the government to do what it already has a duty to do. After filing a writ of mandamus, a federal court can order the State Department to adjudicate a waiver under the travel ban. A writ of mandamus does not guarantee the grant of a waiver from the travel ban.


Petitions for writ of mandamus have proved to be successful in many cases, by compelling the State Department to make its decisions on waivers, or face discovery, prolonged litigation, and the scrutiny of the courts and the media. Further, the petitions can be brought on behalf of individual families, or a joinder action with multiple families who are similarly-situated. In 2019, I filed four  joinder mandamus actions for  Iranian American families: Darchini v Pompeo, Najafi v Pompeo, Poozesh v Pompeo, and Kayvan v Pompeo.  As of Jan. 7, 2020, the State Department had issued 31 visas to  Iranian nationals in those cases, yet we continue to fight until every participant gets their visa.


For further information on a writ of mandamus and how to initiate the process, drop us a line at curtis@curtismorrisonlaw.com or 714-661-3446 (Same # for Telegram). 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do you have experience with mandamus lawsuits for Iranian nationals?


Yes. Along with my colleague Rafael Urena, we filed four cases on behalf of Iranian American families and couples in 2019: Darchini v. Pompeo, Najafi v. Pompeo, Poozesh v Pompeo, and Kayvan v Pompeo. We are preparing to file our next case representing families and couples awaiting travel ban waivers on Monday, February 3, 2020. The deadline to retain us, through the Law Office of Rafael Urena, to participate in this case is Monday, Jan. 27, 2010.


Will petitioning for a writ of mandamus jeopardize our visa application?


This is a common misconception. In our view, when a case is in litigation it is the one time we can know for sure the State Department will act in good faith and fairly adjudicate an application, because its own Department of Justice attorney will be advising them to do so. Further, the court, us as Plaintiff attorneys, and possibly, the media, will be watching as well.  In the extremely unlikely event the State Dept denied a waiver or refused to issue a visa as a result of litigation, that conduct would be what is called "bad faith" and is unlawful. Under a case called Bivens, as victims of this bad faith, you could be entitled to money damages. Further, the government could not raise the "consular nonreviewability" defense because bad faith is an exception to that principal. Simply, it would be a scandal for the State Department to retaliate against visa applicant litigants, and thus is extremely unlikely to happen.


What are the advantages to joinder actions, with multiple plaintiffs?


First, joinder actions make litigation more affordable for more plaintiffs. Secondly, in a joinder action, all plaintiffs benefit in legal arguments around the aggregate hardship experienced by the entire group, aggregate hardship that has a lot better chance at getting a preliminary injunction, and substantive discovery. Third, it's easier to the get the world's attention to our problems, including the media's attention,  congress' attention, and even the court's attention, when we work together as groups.


Do participants in mandamus lawsuits have to go to court?


No. We, as your attorneys, will attend court on your behalf. However, if you would like to come, you are more than welcome to do so. In fact, it is helpful for judges to see a sample of the cases participants in the courtroom.


If we participate in a mandamus action, can you guarantee the outcome?


No. Attorneys cannot guarantee the outcome of judicial proceedings. We can tell you what has happened in similar litigation in the past.  In Mosleh v Pompeo, we represented 7 Yemeni families who all received waivers of the travel ban within 45 days of the day we filed the case, and visas issued to all within 65 days.

 

For the cases we've filed since then, Darchini v Pompeo, Jamal v Pompeo,  Najafi v Pompeo,  Poozesh v Pompeo, and Kayvan v Pompeo, the results have not been that fast for all the participants, but we remain confident that participating a joinder mandamus action is still the best chance at getting the State Department to adjudicate a travel ban waiver and issue a visa.


What kind of evidence do you collect from participant families?


 

(1) Any correspondence between the U.S. embassy, and you, a previous attorney, or a congressional representative. (Ideally send as pdfs, but it’s ok to forward to us as well). 

(2) Any consular interview notices of consular interviews, or notice of refusals, including 221(g) and 212(f) refusals. 

(3) Copies of US Passports, Naturalization Certificates or Birth Certificates for any US citizen immediate relatives (children, spouses, or parents) who will be plaintiffs; and Copies of Green cards for Legal Permanent Residents). 

(4) Any letters from doctors explaining medical or psychological conditions. 

(5) Any other hardship documents you believe would be helpful. We do not need travel receipts – rather when we take your declaration, just remember to state the amount you’ve spent, if any, since the date of the visa beneficiary’s interview (PP 9645 refusal). 

(6) If you have screenshots from Skype/Facetime or other video chat apps between the petitioner (and our family) and beneficiary (and/or family), please send us the best one or two images only. Note: we do not want pictures of you physically together in the same location as we argue how family separation is unbearable. 


Note: We do not collect the evidence you submitted for your Form I-130 or I-129, showing that you have a bonafide relationship. This is not necessary as you are past this hurdle. If you submit this to us, wading through it drains our limited  time to integrate your facts into the case and could delay the filing of the case. 


If we participate in a mandamus case, do we have to participate in publicity for the case?


Our litigation entails the public disclosure of private facts. However, if you do not want to talk to journalists, and want your story confined to court filings, we can do that too. Note: We upload all court filings to this website, except exhibits like the declaration we prepare for you, and personal evidence you provide us from the six categories above.


While participating in publicity is optional, we have found families who do usually get quicker outcomes, with limited exceptions.


What do you charge to participate in a joinder mandamus cases?


As of January 1, 2019, the price for one visa applicant families is $5,000, with each additional visa applicant (beneficiary or derivative) being $1,000 more.


That fee is due as follows: $3,000 upon signing of the retainer agreement so we can begin work integrating your facts and evidence into our next case, $1,000 the day we file the case, and $1000 upon each issuance of a visa in your family.

Examples:

1) If you are petitioning for your fiancé(e), you would pay $3k to start, $1k the day we filed the case, and $1k when fiancé(e) issued visas.
2) If you were petitioning for your parents, you would pay $3k to start, $1k the day we filed the case, $1k when your first parent was issued a visa, and $1k when your second parent was issued a visa. (Hopefully they are issued simultaneously)

Questions answered on Twitter

What kind of families participate in mandamus cases?