Alkabsh v. Barr et al
ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER'S MOTION TO HOLD CASE IN ABEYANCE. Signed by Judge Thomas L. Parker on 2/16/2021. (kll)
Case 2:20-cv-02537-TLP-cgc Document 25 Filed 02/16/21 Page 1 of 4
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
SAMIRAH TAHER MOHAMMED
WILLIAM P. BARR, CHAD WOLF, U.S.
CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION
SERVICES, CINDY GOMEZ, and
ORDER GRANTING PETITIONER’S MOTION TO HOLD CASE IN ABEYANCE
In July 2020, Petitioner Samirah Taher Mohammed Alkabsh petitioned this Court to
review the denial of her naturalization application under 8 U.S.C. 1421(c). (ECF No. 1.) But
here Petitioner moves this Court to hold her case in abeyance until the conclusion of her removal
proceedings. (ECF No. 17.) And the Government opposes. (ECF No. 21.) For the reasons
below, the Court GRANTS Petitioner’s motion.
In 2006, the Government granted Petitioner lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, and
she has lived in the United States since then. (ECF No. 1 at PageID 3.) Petitioner applied for
citizenship, but in 2019, the Government denied her application claiming she used fraud to gain
LPR status. (Id.)
When Petitioner applied for LPR status in 1999 she was an unmarried daughter of a
United States citizen. (ECF No. 7 at PageID 37.) About six years later, a consular officer
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approved Petitioner’s application for a visa, which reflected that she was still single. (Id.) But
later, when Petitioner applied for naturalization, she stated that she had gotten married on August
26, 2005—two months before she submitted the visa application claiming she was still single.
(Id. at PageID 38.) On this basis, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) denied her naturalization application claiming she did not lawfully obtain LPR status.
At that point, Petitioner petitioned this Court for de novo review of the denial of her
naturalization application. (ECF No. 1.) Yet shortly after she petitioned here, the Government
initiated removal proceedings against her. (ECF No. 17 at PageID 128.) The Government
argues that that this Court cannot grant relief while Petitioner is in removal proceedings, and so
the Court should dismiss this case. (ECF No. 7 at PageID 43.)
In response, Petitioner moves this Court to hold this case in abeyance until her removal
proceedings have concluded. (ECF No. 17.) Petitioner argues that the Government commenced
removal proceedings after she brought this case so it could delay the Court’s review of her
application. (Id.) Rather than dismissal, Petitioner requests a stay here, since she has already
paid the civil filing fee and initiated this case. (Id.)
The Government opposes a stay arguing that the Court should grant its motion to dismiss
instead. (ECF No. 21.) The Government claims it could take years for Petitioner to work
through removal proceedings, and it would not serve the public interest for this case to languish.
(Id.) Further, the Government argues that a lost filing fee is not enough to justify a stay. (Id.)
In the end, the Court agrees with Petitioner that a stay is appropriate here.
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For starters, the Court “has broad discretion to stay proceedings as an incident to its
power to control its own docket.” Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706 (1997). Also,“[t]he
power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every court to control the
disposition of the causes in its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel and
for litigants, and the entry of such an order ordinarily rests with the sound discretion of the
District Court.” F.T.C. v. E.M.A. Nationwide, Inc., 767 F.3d 611, 626–27 (6th Cir. 2014). Even
so, “a court must tread carefully in granting a stay of proceedings, since a party has a right to a
determination of its rights and liabilities without undue delay.” Ohio Env’t Council v. U.S. Dist.
Court, S. Dist. of Ohio, E. Div., 565 F.2d 393, 396 (6th Cir. 1977).
In deciding whether to stay a case, courts may consider factors such as: (1) the need for a
stay, (2) the litigation stage, (3) whether the non-moving party will be unduly prejudiced, (4)
whether a stay will simplify the issues, and (5) whether a stay will reduce the burden of
litigation for both the parties and the court. Kirby Developments, LLC v. XPO Global
Forwarding, Inc., 2:18-cv-500, 2018 WL 6075071, at *2 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 20, 2018). And “[t]he
movant bears the burden of showing both a need for delay and that neither the other party nor the
public will suffer harm from entry of the order.” Id. (citing Ohio Env’t. Council, 565 F.2d at
Here the Court finds that a stay is justified. Petitioner filed this case and paid the civil
filing fee in anticipation of litigating her claim here. (See ECF No. 1.) Yet, only a month later,
the Government started removal proceedings preventing this Court from addressing her claim
until those proceedings are over. See Zayed v. United States, 368 F.3d 902, 906 (6th Cir. 2004).
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The Court sees no compelling reason to dismiss this case now and, depending on the outcome, to
have Petitioner start over when the immigration court decides.
The Government correctly points out that Petitioner’s removal proceedings do not begin
until December 2021, which could make this case linger. (See ECF No. 21.) But even if this
case lasts longer than a typical case, the Court finds that neither the Government, nor the public,
will be prejudiced in the meantime. Once the immigration court has completed Petitioner’s
removal proceedings, the parties can resume this case. And those removal proceedings may help
simplify the issues here. And so, the Court will exercise its discretion to stay this case.
As for the outstanding motion to dismiss, the Court will hold that motion in abeyance and
address the merits of that motion after the immigration court completes its review of Petitioner’s
To conclude, the Court STAYS this case until the immigration court completes removal
proceedings. Further, if Petitioner plans to continue with this action, the Court ORDERS
Petitioner to notify this Court of her intent within thirty days after the completion of removal
proceedings. And the Court HOLDS IN ABEYANCE Respondents’ motion to dismiss.
SO ORDERED, this 16th day of February, 2021.
s/Thomas L. Parker
THOMAS L. PARKER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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