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Kublitski v. Thompson

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 28, 2018

ALEH KUBLITSKI, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN THOMPSON and UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES, Defendants.

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         This matter arises from the denial of Plaintiff Aleh Kublitski's naturalization application. Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant summary judgment in favor of Defendants.

         I. Background

         Given that Plaintiff responded to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment with a brief letter and a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) request for discovery and deferred briefing, the Court has not been provided with a complete set of Statements of Material Facts Not in Dispute. However, in his letter to the Court, Plaintiff included the “procedural history of the case, ” which largely overlaps with Defendants' Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute. The Court uses these two documents to address the underlying facts of this case.

         Plaintiff was born in Russia in 1970. On April 30, 1999, Plaintiff was admitted to the United States as a visitor. He remained in the United States beyond his authorized stay.

         On May 17, 2000, Plaintiff married Barbara Roach, a United States citizen. In September 2000, Plaintiff and Roach filed a Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), a Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status), and a Form I-765 (Work Authorization) with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). On October 17, 2000, the INS sent a rejection notice to Plaintiff and Roach. On November 8, 2000, Plaintiff and Roach re-filed the forms.

         The parties differ as to what happened on or around August 7, 2001. According to Plaintiff, “[o]n August 7, 2001, INS issued an internal Form I-181 Memorandum Creation of Record of Lawful Permanent Residence stating that Aleh Kublitski had been granted Lawful Permanent Resident Status pursuant to INA Section 245” and that “the INS Cherry Hill Office mailed an I-485 Approval Notice to Aleh Kublitski that stated: ‘Your application for Permanent Residency has been approved' and that he would receive his ‘Alien Registration Receipt Card in 270 days.'” According to Defendants, however:

There is a letter in the administrative record addressed to Kublitski dated August 7, 2001. The document has letterhead indicating that it was prepared by “Examinations, U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Services, 1886 Greentree Road, Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08003.” There are entries near the top right of the document for the A File Number and “Adj. Class.” There is a blank space next to the words “Approval Date.” Underneath the salutation, “Dear Applicant, ” the letter states, “Your Application for Permanent Residency Has Been Approved.” The letter is unsigned.

(citations omitted).

         On August 8, 2001, the INS issued a Fingerprint Referral Notice for Plaintiff. On August 22, 2001, the INS sent Plaintiff an Adjustment of Status interview notice for a September 27, 2001 interview. The parties continued to correspond over the coming years.

         The following facts, while not explicitly agreed to between the parties, are taken from the Court's review of the documents provided in the administrative record. On September 10, 2004, Plaintiff and Roach were given a Final Judgment of Divorce. Defendants proffer that, sometime in 2004, the Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative was approved. The Court is able to discern a stamp and a signature on the Petition, but the Court is unable to discern any approval date on the document. (A368A). However, as Plaintiff was eventually granted permanent resident status, at some point prior to March 19, 2005, this petition was necessarily approved. On March 19, 2005, the I-495 Application to Adjust Status was stamped “approved, ” as was a Memorandum of Creation of Record of Lawful Permanent Residence. Plaintiff was issued a Permanent Resident Card, stating that Plaintiff was a resident since March 19, 2005.

         An N-400 Application for Naturalization appears to have been signed by Plaintiff on September 23, 2014 and signed by the individual who prepared the form on October 17, 2014. On the N-400 form, Plaintiff stated he became a permanent resident on March 19, 2005.

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint with the Court on January 16, 2017. Plaintiff asks for the following relief:

(a) Granting him a hearing de novo before this Court on his naturalization application and declaring that he is entitled to be naturalized, and/or
(b) Ordering the prompt adjudication of his request for reconsideration, and
(c) Granting him costs and attorneys' fees and such other and further relief that this Court may deem proper.

         On June 23, 2017, Defendants moved for summary judgment. Plaintiff responded with a nine-page letter and a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) Declaration.

         II. ...


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