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Case Name Samma v. United States Department of Defense IM-DC-0074
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01104 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Southern California
Case Summary
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides an expedited path to citizenship for non-citizens serving in the U.S. military. In 2017, President Trump’s Secretary of Defense implemented a new internal policy which made the expedited naturalization process lengthier and more difficult. Objecting ... read more >
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides an expedited path to citizenship for non-citizens serving in the U.S. military. In 2017, President Trump’s Secretary of Defense implemented a new internal policy which made the expedited naturalization process lengthier and more difficult. Objecting to this new policy, 6 non-citizen service members, represented by the ACLU, ACLU of Southern California, and ACLU of the District of Columbia, filed this class action against the Secretary and Department of Defense on April 28, 2020. The complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and assigned to Judge Ellen S. Huvelle, alleged that the Department’s policy violated both the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. §§553, 706) and the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. §1440). They sought a declaration (under 28 U.S.C. §§2201-2202) that the Department’s policy was illegal, and injunctive relief (under 5 U.S.C. §702) preventing the Department from implementing the new policy.

The plaintiffs alleged that de-expedited naturalization process injured them in several ways, including: ineligibility for promotion to military positions available to citizens; denial of access to consular services while deployed overseas; and inability to sponsor family members seeking to immigrate.

The plaintiffs sought certification as a class of “All individuals who:
(a) are non-citizens serving honorably in the U.S. military;
(b) have requested but not received a certified [Department of Defense] Form N-426; and
(c) are not…covered by [Kirwa v. U.S. Dep’t of Def., 285 F. Supp. 3d 21 (D.D.C. 2017)].”

Along with the complaint, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and for summary judgment. The defendants likewise moved for summary judgment on May 22, 2020. As of June 8, 2020, all motions are pending.

Gregory Marsh - 06/08/2020


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Immigration/Border
Status/Classification
U.S. citizenship - acquiring
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Defendant(s) United States Department of Defense
Plaintiff Description 6 foreign nationals serving in the U.S. Military, who are seeking to naturalize under the expedited military naturalization provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU of Southern California
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 04/28/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Samma v. Department of Defense - Lawsuit Challenging Policy Denying U.S. Military Service Members Expedited Path to Citizenship
https://www.aclu.org
Date: Jun. 8, 2020
By: American Civil Liberties Union
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
06/01/2020
1:20-cv-01104
IM-DC-0074-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
04/28/2020
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0074-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Huvelle, Ellen Segal (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cho, Michelle (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-0001
Hafetz, Jonathan L. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-0001 | IM-DC-0074-9000
Kaufman, Brett Max (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-0001 | IM-DC-0074-9000
Kim, Scarlet (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-0001 | IM-DC-0074-9000
Pasquarella, Jennifer (California) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-0001
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-0001 | IM-DC-0074-9000
Zafar, Noor (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-0001 | IM-DC-0074-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Holland, Liam (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-9000
Swinton, Nathan Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0074-9000

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