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Last updateSat, 20 Apr 2019 12am







    Friday, April 19, 2019-1:00:37P.M.






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Lawyer in immigration case responds to court’s show-cause order

A LAWYER says he does not object to the dismissal of his clients’ lawsuit against U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as long as the federal court  retains jurisdiction to award fees and costs.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona had directed the plaintiffs  Robert Lee Hale Jr. and Suinan Zhong, who are represented by attorney Samuel Mok, to show cause in writing no later than Aug 21, why their lawsuit should not be dismissed for lack of ongoing controversy.

The couple sued USCIS because of its inaction on a pending U.S. immigration petition.

On May 30, 2018, USCIS issued the relief sought by the couple: Zhong’s permanent resident card.

On June 12, 2018, at the parties’ request, Judge Manglona, vacated the briefing schedule and hearing date for the summary judgment motion and gave them until Aug. 6 to negotiate a resolution as to costs and fees.

But in a recent status report to the court, Mok stated that USCIS was refusing to pay any attorney’s fees or costs, and was told that he should file a motion for reimbursement.

USCIS, which is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica Wessling, stated  that there is no legal basis compelling payment of fees and that the plaintiffs’ demand did not articulate a legal basis for entitlement of fees.

Ordered to explain why the lawsuit should not be dismissed as the relief sought has been issued, Mok said they do not object to the court dismissing the underlying action, provided that the court retains jurisdiction in the matter of awarding fees and costs pursuant to the arguments made by the parties in their respective briefs.

The couple is asking a total of $3,518.25 for reimbursement of expenses incurred.