The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID COAR, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This case comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Both parties have fully briefed the
issues in Defendant's Motion and it is now ripe for decision.
I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Eleven immigrant plaintiffs filed this class action complaint on
November 15, 2002, on behalf of a class of immigrant plaintiffs who filed
applications for adjustment of status under Section 245(i) of the
Immigration and Nationalization Act in the Chicago District Office of the
Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) between January 29, 1997,
and April 13, 2001 The complaint challenges the policies of the Chicago
District Office of the INS relating to the processing of applications for
adjustment of status under Section 245(i). Subsequent to the processing
of these applications, the Chicago office relied on the information in
the applications for adjustment of status to initiate investigations and
removal proceedings against the unsuccessful applicants.
The Court will again review the law governing the applications for
adjustment of status under Section 245(i). In 1994, Congress enacted
Section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationalization Act to permit
undocumented immigrants already in the United States to stabilize their
immigration status if they were related to persons who were in the United
States legally, See 8 U.S.C. § 1255(i). Although it was not
referred to as an amnesty program, for those undocumented immigrants who
qualified for an adjustment of status under § 245(i), it had the
effect of excusing their undocumented entry to the United States. The
qualifying relative could file an immediate relative visa petition on
behalf of the undocumented relative (INS form I-130). Once the petition
was filed and approved, the undocumented relative could submit the
application for adjustment of status (INS form I-485). If a visa was
immediately available to the applicant, the application could be approved
at the. discretion of the Attorney General and the undocumented relative
could obtain a work authorization.
Plaintiffs allege that the acceptance and processing of these
applications in the Chicago District Office during the class period was
improper under the regulatory scheme. They contend that the applications
should not have been processed under the statute and accompanying
regulations unless a visa was immediately available to the applicant.
Defendants assert that the Plaintiffs' reading of the immigration
statutes and regulations is incorrect. They contend that the sole proper
consequence of filing an application for adjustment of status when a visa
was not immediately available is to deny the application.
Defendants previously moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of
jurisdiction. On September 30, 2003, this Court denied that motion in a
written order. See Ramos v. Ashcroft, No. 02 C 8266, 2003 WL
22282521 (N.D. Ill., Sept. 30, 2003). Defendants now seek to dismiss
the Complaint for failure to state a claim. Their Motion to Dismiss
states several grounds for dismissal First, they contend that the actions
of the Chicago District Office were proper under the statute Second, they
contend that Plaintiffs' constitutional claims cannot be sustained as a
matter of law. Finally, they assert that the Plaintiffs are ineligible
for the injunctive relief that they seek in their Complaint.
In reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the district court must accept
all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Transit Exp.
Inc. v. Ettinger, 246 F.3d 1018, 1023 (7th Cir. 2001) The district
court should not grant a motion to dismiss "unless it appears beyond
doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his
claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957).
The central dispute between the parties in this case revolves around an
interpretation of the statutes and regulations that govern the acceptance
and processing of Applications for Adjustment of Status under Section
245(i) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1255(i).
The Court will begin its discussion there and then it will move on to
discuss the constitutional allegations in the Complaint and the
possibility of injunctive relief.
A. Count I: Violation of the Administrative Procedures Act
Plaintiff's allege in Count I that the policies and practices of the
Chicago District Office of the INS with respect to the applications for
adjustment of status violated the Administrative Procedures Act,
5 U.S.C. § 706. In order to survive a motion to dismiss, this complaint
under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) must allege that the
challenged federal agency action was ...