USCIS Naturalizes Over Two Thousand Individuals Prevented From Naturalizing Due to Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Shutdown, Advocates Voluntarily Dismiss Suit

Brookline, MA – Following a class action lawsuit brought by two lawful permanent residents whose naturalization ceremonies were cancelled or delayed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philadelphia Field Office of U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services (USCIS) naturalized the named plaintiffs as well as 2,200 proposed class members.

The lawsuit, Campbell Davis v. USCIS, filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on June 10, 2020, sought to ensure that USCIS facilitate timely naturalization ceremonies of more than 2,000 applicants whose naturalization had been placed on hold due to the pandemic. The plaintiffs, on behalf of a proposed class of just over 2,200 individuals in the region, requested that the federal district court utilize a law that provides for expedited naturalization in special circumstances, such as a pandemic. They asked that USCIS conduct expedited naturalization ceremonies no later than late September, to ensure that Plaintiffs and class members had adequate time to register to vote in the fall elections.

The National Immigration Litigation Alliance (NILA), Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP), the Law Offices of Stacy Tolchin, and Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin LLP filed the case.

Today, in response to learning that USCIS’ Philadelphia Office had naturalized the named plaintiffs and 2,202 members of the proposed class, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit.

“We are pleased that the USCIS’ Philadelphia Office acted to prioritize naturalization ceremonies so that our clients and proposed class members now can enjoy the benefits of citizenship, including the right to vote,” said Trina Realmuto, Executive Director of NILA. “We hope that other USCIS offices will do the same.”

“We appreciate that USCIS and the district court immediately took action to ensure that over 2,200 people were able to complete the process of becoming U.S. citizens,” said Matt Adams, Legal Director for NWIRP. “Our clients are ecstatic that they no longer have to worry whether they will be left in limbo because of the pandemic.”

The complaint can be viewed here and the notice of dismissal can be viewed here.

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Media contacts:

Trina Realmuto, Executive Director, National Immigration Litigation Alliance

(617) 819-4447; trina@immigrationlitigation.org

Matt Adams, Legal Director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project

(206) 957-8611; matt@nwirp.org