Chibugo Precious IHEKWOABA, Plaintiff v. Merrick B. GARLAND, Attorney General; Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; UR Jaddoua, Director, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services; Tina Almond, Field Office Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Mario Ortiz, District Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in their official capacities, Defendants
Pending before the Court is Defendants’ motion to dismiss, filed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) or, alternatively, Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Docket no. 16. Plaintiff has filed a response (docket no. 18) and Defendants have filed a reply (docket no. 20). After reviewing the relevant parts of the record and the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendants’ motion to dismiss should be granted.
Plaintiff brought this lawsuit to challenge the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ denial of his Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, based on ineligibility under 8 U.S.C. § 1255(a). Docket no. 1. Plaintiff seeks a declaration that the decision was erroneous and requests the Court vacate the decision and approve his I-485 application. Docket no. 1, p. 13.
Defendants move to dismiss the lawsuit because federal district courts lack jurisdiction to review such matters. Under Rule 12(b)(1), “[a] case is properly dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction when the court lacks the statutory or constitutional power to adjudicate the case.” Home Builders Ass'n of Mississippi, Inc. v. City of Madison, Mississippi, 143 F.3d 1006, 1010 (5th Cir. 1998). The burden of proof for a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss is “constantly” on the party asserting jurisdiction. Ramming v. United States, 281 F.3d 158, 161 (5th Cir. 2001) (per curiam). In ruling on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the court may consider: (1) the complaint alone; (2) the complaint supplemented by undisputed facts evidenced in the record; or (3) the complaint, undisputed facts, and the court's resolution of disputed facts. Spotts v. United States, 613 F.3d 559, 566 (5th Cir. 2010).
The USCIS denied Plaintiff's I-485 request for adjustment of status because it found him ineligible under § 1255(a), which states that “[t]he status of an alien who was inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States ․ may be adjusted by the Attorney General, in his discretion and under such regulations as he may prescribe, to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence ․”. 8 U.S.C. § 1255(a). In Plaintiff's case, USCIS determined he had not been inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States; thus, he was not eligible for an adjustment of status. Plaintiff now seeks judicial review of that decision.
8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) expressly states that “no court shall have jurisdiction to review – any judgment regarding the granting of relief under ․ 1255 of this title ․”. Prior to May 2022, the circuits were split on the scope of § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i), but the Supreme Court resolved that conflict in Patel v. Garland, ––– U.S. ––––, 142 S. Ct. 1614, 212 L.Ed.2d 685 (2022). The Patel decision makes clear that § 1252(a)(2)(B)(i) prohibits review of “any” judgment “of whatever kind” – which includes all decisions relating to the granting or denying of relief under § 1255. Id. at 1621-22. The USCIS decision being challenged in this case is exactly the type of decision that this Court is statutorily prohibited from reviewing, as instructed in Patel.
It is therefore ORDERED that Defendants’ motion to dismiss, filed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1), is GRANTED and this case is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction.
ORLANDO L. GARCIA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE