Vietnamese Family Obtains Visas After 16-Year Wait, Ends Suit 1 Vietnamese Family Obtains Visas After 16-Year Wait, Ends Suit

By Alyssa Aquino

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Law360 (April 29, 2021, 1:56 PM EDT) —
A Vietnamese family withdrew litigation challenging stalled green card requests, telling a Washington, D.C., federal court they finally obtained the immigrant visas they had sought with their lawsuit.

Jessica Nguyen, a U.S. citizen who first sponsored her brother and his family for immigrant visas in 2005, announced Wednesday that consular officers issued the green cards, thus drawing the 16-year green card effort to a close.

“Jessica Nguyen hereby voluntarily dismisses the instant action with prejudice,” the family said, adding that both sides would cover their own legal costs.

The suit started in March 2020, when the Nguyens accused the Homeland Security and State departments, as well as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, of unreasonably delaying their green card applications.

Jessica Nguyen’s 2005 petition was approved in 2010. Her brother sat for a consular interview in October 2019, but hadn’t received a decision or heard back after numerous attempts to contact the consulate, according to the complaint.

Weeks after the complaint was filed, former President Donald Trump issued a proclamation temporarily barring noncitizens abroad from moving to the U.S. on several categories of immigrant visas.

The Nguyens amended their suit to challenge the travel restrictions that cited the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent economic downturn, and petitioned the court to block the proclamation alongside other family-based green card hopefuls and winners of the diversity visa lottery.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta refused the request, saying the group hadn’t shown that their delayed visa applications were connected to the travel restrictions.

The Nguyens revised their complaint to exclude claims over the travel restrictions. However, the federal government successfully petitioned the court to stay the case in August, after hundreds of other visa hopefuls filed suits looking to bust Trump’s green card ban, as well as later travel restrictions largely targeting work visa holders. Even if the Nguyens won their suit, the restrictions would prevent them from entering the U.S. and the court’s time would be better spent resolving the travel ban suits, the government said.

On April 1, the Nguyens informed the court that visa processing at the Ho Chi Minh consulate had resumed, following the Biden administration’s lifting of Trump’s proclamation and the expiration of the work visa restrictions.

Representatives for the Nguyens and the government didn’t immediately respond to Thursday requests for comment.

The family is represented by James O. Hacking III of Hacking Immigration Law LLC.

The government under the Trump administration was represented by Aaron Goldsmith of the U.S. Department of Justice‘s Civil Division.

The case is Nguyen et al. v. DHS et al., case number 1:20-cv-00718, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

–Editing by Amy Rowe.

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