United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO REMAND
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Manning (“Plaintiff”) is appealing the denial of
his application for naturalization. Compl., ECF No. 1.
Attorney General of the United States William Barr,
Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen
Nielson, and Director of the United States Department of
Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services
Nieves Cardinale (“Defendants”) move for remand
and dismissal without prejudice. Mot. to Remand and Mot. to
Dismiss without Prejudice (“Mot. Remand”), ECF
reasons that follow, Defendants' motion for remand and
dismissal without prejudice, ECF No. 17, is
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
March 29, 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations
Services (“USCIS”) denied Mr. Manning's N-400
form, and thus his application for naturalization, on moral
character grounds. USCIS, “Decision” (Aug. 16,
2018), ECF No. 1 at 6 (“On March 29, 2018, USCIS denied
your Form N-400 because you had not demonstrated that you met
the good moral character eligibility requirement for
naturalization. USCIS reached this decision based on the fact
that you failed to provide the requested final, sealed
disposition from your Virginia Criminal Record. The record
reveals on January 3, 2017, you were charged with a felony
crime, under, the Code of Virginia, section, 40, 1-103,
cruelty and injuries to children/ penalty/abandoned
later, Mr. Manning requested a hearing, id., which
the agency scheduled. Compl. at 2.
the hearing, Mr. Manning went to the USCIS office in Hartford
to explain that he had a scheduling conflict and needed a new
hearing date. Id.; Mot. Remand at 1. A USCIS staffer
“advised [Mr. Manning] that his hearing would be
continued[; but] the request for a continuance [allegedly]
did not reach Plaintiff's alien file prior to the
issuance of the denial of his naturalization
application.” Mot. Remand at 1. As a result, Mr.
Manning's “naturalization application was denied
for failure to appear at his scheduled hearing.”
December 14, 2018, Mr. Manning, then pro se, filed a
Complaint with this court seeking de novo review of
his naturalization application. Compl. at 4 (“Request
for Relief . . . . 1) My Naturalization Application Be
Reviewed, 2) My Naturalization Application Be
14, 2018, Defendants filed their motion to remand and dismiss
without prejudice. Mot. Remand. Defendants' motion
corroborates Mr. Manning's claims that he sought and was
promised a continuance, but that USCIS failed to continue his
hearing and denied his naturalization application for his
failure to appear. Mot. Remand at 2. The motion also states
that on account of the agency's “mix-up, ”
id., USCIS has re-scheduled Mr. Manning's
hearing for July 2, 2019, id. However,
“Defendants . . . assert that Plaintiff is not entitled
to naturalization due to his failure to produce certified
disposition records with respect to the criminal charges
filed against him in Virginia in 2017.” Id. at
24, 2019, the Court convened a telephonic status conference
with the parties, Minute Entry, ECF No. 20, including Mr.
Manning's recently retained counsel, Notice of
Appearance, ECF No. 14. At that conference, Mr. Manning's
counsel asked the Court not to remand the case to the agency,
but rather to exercise its jurisdiction to review Mr.
Manning's naturalization application de novo.
Minute Entry. Defendants submitted that the more efficient
route would be a remand and dismissal without prejudice.
Court will address two issues on Defendants' motion for
remand and dismissal: (1) the source of this Court's
jurisdiction over Mr. Manning's appeal, and (2) whether
the Court may remand this case for further proceedings at the
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
sole authority to naturalize persons as citizens of the
United States is conferred upon the Attorney General.”
Iqbal v. Sec'y U.S. Dep't of Homeland Sec.,
190 F.Supp.3d 322, 327 (W.D.N.Y. 2016) (citing 8 U.S.C.
§ 1421). However, “[t]here are three avenues of
judicial review.” Id. ...