The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert F. Kelly, Sr. J.
Presently before the Court is Defendants' "Motion to Dismiss Complaint for Writ of Mandamus." For the reasons set forth below, the Motion will be granted.
On February 17, 2009, C & S Manufacturing, Inc. ("C & S"), Mi Ok Kim ("Kim") and Kim's family (collectively, "Plaintiffs") filed a "Complaint for Relief in the Nature of Mandamus and for Declaratory or Injunctive Relief" ("Complaint") against Defendants, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano; the Attorney General of the United States, Eric H. Holder, Jr.; the Acting Deputy Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), Michael Aytes; the Acting Secretary of Labor, Edward C. Hugler ("Secretary Hugler"); and USCIS (collectively, the "Government"). In their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege four causes of action: (1) a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the regulations thereunder ("INA") as a result of the Government's "denial of Plaintiffs' Petition and Adjustment of Status Applications"; (2) a violation of the INA as a result of the Government's "continued refusal to adjudicate Plaintiffs' Motion to reopen"; (3) a violation of the Freedom of Information Act (the "FOIA"); and (4) a claim for injunctive relief. (Compl. at 12-13.)
The Complaint states that in or about October 1987, C & S submitted a labor certification request to the United States Department of Labor (the "Department of Labor") to assess whether the company could employ a foreign worker to fill a position with their business. (Id. ¶ 6.) On or about September 20, 1988, the Department of Labor approved C & S's labor certification request (the "Labor Certification"). (Id.) Based on the Labor Certification, C & S filed an employment-based petition with USCIS. (Id.) The Complaint alleges that the petition was approved, but as a result of the Government's delay, C & S lost their prospective employee.*fn1
On August 13, 2005, Kim and her family lawfully entered the United States. The Complaint states that "[i]n February 2006, C & S Manufacturing offered the position to Mi Ok Kim and she accepted." (Id. ¶ 7.) C & S then petitioned the Government to "substitute Ms. Kim as the beneficiary of the previously approved employment based petition" (the "I-140 Petition"). (Id.) Concurrently with the filing of the I-140 Petition, Kim and her family filed for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residents "so that the family could remain in the United States for Ms. Kim to work in the proffered position" (the "I-485 applications"). (Id.)
The Complaint asserts that on September 18, 2006, the Government denied the I-140 Petition solely because it could not locate the original Labor Certification in its file, but rather, "could only locate a copy of the Labor Certification." (Id. ¶ 41.) Plaintiffs further allege that on the basis of the denied I-140 Petition, the Government denied the I-485 applications as well. (Id.) Plaintiffs state that they filed a Motion to Reopen with the Government regarding the decisions denying the I-140 Petition and the I-485 applications. (Id. ¶ 44.) The Complaint asserts that "[i]nstead of adjudicating the Motion to Reopen, Defendants erroneously transferred the Motion to the [Office of Administrative Appeals (the "AAO")] as an Appeal." (Id. ¶ 48.) Plaintiffs claim that after a yearlong delay at the AAO, "the AAO transferred the case back to Defendants['] office where the Motion to Reopen had been originally filed for adjudication." (Id. ¶ 49.) Plaintiffs allege that the Government has still failed to adjudicate the Motion to Reopen and refuses to do so. (Id.) Plaintiffs also allege that the Government refuses to adjudicate the I-485 applications to completion. (Id. ¶ 52.) As a result, Plaintiffs claim that the Government has violated the Administrative Procedures Act (the "APA"). (Id. ¶ 64.)
On or about January 26, 2009, Plaintiffs filed a FOIA request with the Government for complete copies of their administrative files. (Id. ¶ 65.) The Complaint asserts that the Government has "failed to act upon this request in violation of the law." (Id. ¶ 66.)
In the Complaint's "Prayer for Relief," Plaintiffs request that the Court: (1) "[a]ssume jurisdiction of this matter"; (2) "[e]nter judgment in favor of Plaintiffs"; (3) "[o]rder the immediate adjudication of Plaintiffs' petition, adjustment of status application, and motion to reopen"; (4) "[o]rder Defendants to immediately furnish Plaintiffs' counsel with the approval notice of their I-140 Petition and I-485 applications"; (5) "[o]rder that the erroneously [sic] denials be immediately corrected or removed"; (6) "[d]eclare that Defendants' delay violated the law"; (7) "[d]eclare that Defendants' withholding of records violated the Freedom of Information Act"; (8) "[o]rder Defendants to produce the records that have been requested"; (9) "[g]rant Plaintiffs reasonable attorneys fees, costs and other disbursements pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412"; and (10) "[a]ward such other and further relief as... this Court may deem just and necessary." (Id. at 13-14.)
On August 25, 2009, the Government filed the instant Motion, arguing that Plaintiffs' Complaint should be dismissed as moot because USCIS has already adjudicated the I-140 Petition and I-485 applications. The Government further argues that Secretary Hugler should be dismissed from the Complaint because the issue concerning the Labor Certification is now moot.
Specifically, on May 15, 2009, USCIS issued a letter to C & S in which it denied the I-140 Petition based on USCIS's determination that C & S is unable to pay Kim the salary it claims to have offered her.*fn2 The Government asserts that in this letter, "USCIS resolved [the Labor Certification] issue, admitting that they received and reviewed the Labor Certification. In fact, USCIS specifically stated that the Labor Certification did not serve as the basis for denial."*fn3
(Mot. to Dismiss at 5.) Finally, the Government alleges that Plaintiffs' FOIA claims should be dismissed because Plaintiffs failed to exhaust their administrative remedies at the time of the filing of their Complaint.
On June 15, 2009, Plaintiffs appealed the May 15, 2009 denial to the AAO. (Gov't's Reply at 2.) On September 21, 2009, the AAO issued a Notice of Derogatory Information to C & S, stating that it intends to dismiss Plaintiffs' appeal. ...