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Daniel v. The District Director, United Citizenship and Immigration Services

United States District Court, S.D. New York

March 12, 2015

HENRIETTA TITILOLA DANIEL Plaintiff,
v.
THE DISTRICT DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, Defendant.

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

PAUL A. CROTTY, District Judge.

Pro se Plaintiff Henrietta Titilola Daniel seeks judicial review of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' ("CIS") denial of her naturalization application pursuant to § 310(c) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1421(c). Plaintiff argues that she was lawfully admitted for permanent residence and that CIS's decision was not made in a reasonable time. CIS moved for summary judgment.

On January 5, 2015, Magistrate Judge Netburn issued her Report and Recommendation ("R & R), concluding that (1) Plaintiff was not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, and (2) CIS's decision was made in a reasonable time. The Magistrate Judge recommends granting summary judgment. Plaintiff objects, arguing that C1S's delay in deciding Plaintiff's case was inequitable.

For the reasons stated below, the Court adopts the R & R in full and GRANTS CIS's motion for summary judgment.

BACKGROUND[1]

Plaintiff was born on July 8, 1986 in Lagos, Nigeria. On September 20, 2005 Plaintiff's father, Henry 0. Daniel, a naturalized United States citizen, filed a I-130 visa petition on Plaintiff's behalf. The I-130 petition classified Plaintiff as an "immediate relative, " as she was the child[2] of a United States citizen. On February 6, 2006, Plaintiff applied for a non-immigrant K-4 visa, allowing her to travel to the United States while she awaited the adjudication of her I-130 petition.[3] Plaintiff's non-immigrant K-4 visa was approved on March 28, 2006 and Plaintiff entered the United States on April 1, 2006.

On August 18, 2006, Plaintiff, through counsel, submitted an I-485 application to adjust her status to that of a legal permanent resident in the IR7 visa category, based on her "immediate relative" status as the child of a citizen. On November 13, 2007, while her I-485 adjustment application was still pending, Plaintiff married Oluwaseun Popoola. Her marriage meant that she was no longer a "child" for naturalization purposes and, thus, no longer eligible for an IR7 visa. See 8 U.S.C. § 1101(b)(1). Neither Plaintiff, nor her counsel, informed CIS of her changed marital status. On April 2, 2008, CIS approved Plaintiff's I-485 adjustment application, deeming Plaintiff a lawful permanent resident.

On January 8, 2013, Plaintiff filed an N-400 application for naturalization with CIS. In her subsequent interview, Plaintiff reported her November 13, 2007 marriage and provided her marriage certificate. Upon learning of her marriage, CIS determined that Plaintiff's I-485 adjustment was erroneously approved since her marital status changed while her application was pending. Since Plaintiff was, therefore, not yet a lawful permanent resident, she was ineligible to naturalize and CIS denied her application on April 22, 2014.

On March 12, 2014, Plaintiff filed this action, alleging CIS failed to timely decide her application. After CIS denied Plaintiff's naturalization application, Plaintiff wrote to the Court requesting a review of CIS's decision. On May 13, 2014, Magistrate Judge Netburn directed that Plaintiff's letter be incorporated into the complaint and ordered CIS to respond. On July 23, 2014, CIS moved for summary judgment, complying with the pro se notice requirements. See Local Civ. R. 56.2. The matter was fully briefed on October 27, 2014 and Magistrate Judge Netubm issued her R & Ron January 5, 2015.

LEGAL STANDARDS

District Courts may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). When no objections are made, the Court reviews the R & R for clear error. See La Torres v. Walker , 216 F.Supp.2d 157, 159 (S.D.N.Y. 2000). If a party objects, however, the Court conducts a de novo review of the contested portions. See Idlisan v. Mount Sinai Medical Center , 2015 WL 136012, at * 2 (S.D.N.Y. Jan 9, 2015). Objections made by a party proceeding pro se are construed in their best light. See Tracy v. Freshwater , 623 F.3d 90, 101 (2d Cir. 2010) (describing the various forms of solicitude afforded to pro se litigants).

District Courts may grant summary judgment when there is "no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Court must "construe all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all inferences and resolving all ambiguities in [her] favor." Dickerson v. Napolitano , 604 F.3d 732, 740 (2d Cir. 2010) (citing LaSalle Bank Nat'l Ass'n v. Nomura Asset Capital Corp. , 424 F.3d 195, 205 (2d Cir. 2005)). Here, neither party disputes the facts and the issue before the Court is solely a question of law.

DISCUSSION

I. Clear Error ...


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