December 4, 2023

Immigration Green Card

Immigration Is Good For You

U visa class action alleges Mexico native’s green card status adjustment request denied unlawfully

3 min read
Close up of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration services signage.
(Photo Credit: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock)

U visa lawsuit overview: 

  • Who: A Mexican immigrant hit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services with a class action lawsuit. 
  • Why: The plaintiff alleges the department unfairly denied her status as a legal permanent resident by asking her to get a medical exam that is not required by law.
  • Where: The U visa lawsuit was filed in a Washington federal court.

A Mexican immigrant to the United States hit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with a class action lawsuit alleging it unfairly denied her status as a legal permanent resident by asking her to get a medical exam that is not required by law.

Plaintiff Linda Cabello Garcia filed the class action lawsuit against USCIS Dec. 16 in a Washington federal court, alleging violations of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

According to the lawsuit, the government department unlawfully denied Cabello Garcia’s green card status adjustment request when it required her to take a medical exam she couldn’t obtain due to a diagnosed panic disorder.

Cabello Garcia alleges she was deemed eligible for a nonimmigrant U visa reserved for crime victims who can assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting criminal activity.

Unlike most adjustment-of-status applicants, U visa recipients aren’t required to go through medical exams to prove they aren’t barred under public health inadmissibility grounds, she claims. 

However, the USCIS still required her to submit a medical examination form. This was impossible for Cabello Garcia, considering she suffers severe anxiety and panic attacks when seeking medical help, the U visa lawsuit claims. 

USCIS has practice of requiring unnecessary medical form, U visa lawsuit states

Cabello Garcia alleges that, despite explaining that the medical exam form was inapplicable to her case and providing a letter from her husband and a detailed declaration explaining that she was unable to see a medical professional, the USCIS denied her visa status change.

“Even though the [Immigration and Nationality Act] does not require U visa holders applying to adjust status to overcome other grounds of inadmissibility, defendants have a policy or practice of requiring such applicants to submit a Form I-693 with their adjustment applications,” the U visa lawsuit states.

Cabello Garcia received her U visa in 2016 after the Juneau Police Department in Alaska confirmed she aided the investigation of an “aggressive stalking” crime she was the victim of, she states.

Garcia claims her application also explained that she didn’t have any of the diseases or illnesses the medical exam asks about. However, USCIS still denied the application without explanation, she says. The illegal practice allegedly creates insurmountable financial barriers for immigrants, according to the class action

Cebello Garcia is suing on behalf of anyone in the United States who was denied visa status change for the same reason and seeks certification of the class action, readjudication of her application, costs and fees.

In similar news, in April, a Georgia-based labor recruiter was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging it lured Mexican engineers to the United States with promises of engineering jobs and then put them on production lines in an auto factory long-term.

What do you think of the allegations in this U visa lawsuit? Let us know in the comments! 

The plaintiff is represented by Matt Adams, Aaron Korthuis and Glenda M. Aldana Madrid of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and Jason Baumetz of Alaska Immigration Justice Project.

The U visa lawsuit is Cabello Garcia v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services et al., Case No. 3:22-cv- 05984, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

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