Why was the lawsuit withdrawn?
We received positive feedback from last week’s email newsletter regarding our recent lawsuit against the FBI and USCIS. We interpret the influx of emails as a sign of strong community support for our commitment to fighting governmental discrimination against American Muslims and we appreciate the feedback.
In addition to this positive response, we also received a question from a reader which we want to address here. The question was basically this: “I understand that your client received his green card, and that you believe this happened because CAIR-Philadelphia filed the lawsuit. However, as I understand it, an injustice still occurred, and CAIR-Philadelphia believes that the FBI unlawfully interfered with the client’s immigration status. If such an injustice occurred, why was the lawsuit ultimately withdrawn? The fact that the client received his green card doesn’t undo the previous injustice, so why does the receipt of the green card seemingly undo the lawsuit?”
That’s an excellent question, and Legal Director Amara Chaudhry wants to give an honest response:
Truthfully, the American legal system is not specifically designed to “combat injustice.” That may sound strange, and it’s certainly contrary to the popular folklore of the United States. In truth, the legal system’s primary purpose is to resolve specific disputes, as authorized by specific laws, when the parties to that dispute are unable to resolve the dispute themselves. In our client’s case, that “dispute” involved the immigration petition he filed in 2006. We filed a lawsuit for the sole purpose of asking a federal court to, essentially, compel the parties to resolve that dispute (i.e., we asked a federal court to compel the USCIS to issue a ruling – any ruling – on the immig ration petition). After we filed the lawsuit, USCIS, without any prompting from the federal court, entered a ruling on the immigration petition, and the client received his green card as a result. Once he received that green card, there was no longer a “dispute” between the parties for the court to resolve. In legal terms, the lawsuit suddenly became “moot” and the court would have had to dismiss the case because there was no longer a dispute to resolve.
Once the case became moot, CAIR-Philadelphia could have simply waited for the court to dismiss the case. However, we chose to pre-empt this dismissal by withdrawing the lawsuit ourselves. This withdrawal allowed us to demonstrate that we are reasonable people who are not looking to pick an unnecessary fight with the FBI, USCIS, or any other government agency – we simply wanted our client to obtain the result to which he was entitled by law.
We hope this clarifies our position and answers any questions that you might have about the lawsuit.