The time is ticking; up to 80,000 green card numbers connected to employees are slated to expire by the end of September. Those anticipating that the district court would have the ultimate word and prevent this from happening would be disappointed for the time being.
Judge Peter J Messitte of the US District Court (Maryland) did not rule on the subject of preserving the green cards in the action filed by 125 Indian and Chinese nationals to ensure that their green card numbers do not expire on September 29.
Instead, he’s ordered that the matter be split up into separate lawsuits. In other words, he consented to the defendant’s (USCIS) motion to transfer – each of the plaintiff’s claims would be separated into its own case, depending on which service centre or field office their green card application to alter status is now waiting or being handled at. The cases will subsequently be assigned to the district courts that cover these areas.
The plaintiff argued that the district of Maryland was the correct forum because the defendants are a federal officer and a federal agency based in Maryland and because a significant portion of the actions or omissions that gave rise to their claims occurred in this district.
Due to a procedural snag, the plaintiffs’ attorneys intend to seek an emergency stay from the several district courts in order to keep the visas in place until the preliminary injunction is decided. Attorney Jeff D Joseph, Charles H Kuck, and Greg Siskind are representing the plaintiffs. On August 5, it was reported that the petitioners had asked the district court in Maryland to require USCIS to process their applications promptly and/or retain these additional numbers.
While this presented a rare opportunity and duty for USCIS to accept more employment-based green cards than usual in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, so drastically reducing the decades-long wait for Indian and Chinese candidates and their employers, the procedure was slow.
If not processed at the end of the month, the additional numbers that rolled over into the employment-based category will expire (go to waste). In this context, the petitioners (together with their dependents) filed applications for permanent residency (also known as green cards) before December 2020, prompting them to seek remedy from the court. All eyes are now on the verdicts made by these several district courts.