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Palestinian Refugee Wins Mandamus Victory

by Kip Evan Steinberg, Esq.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has been ordered by a federal court in San Francisco to adjudicate the application for permanent residence of Mohamed Aboushaban, a Palestinian refugee. Mr. Aboushaban's application was pending with USCIS for more than eight years pending a security clearance from the FBI. As a result of a lawsuit filed in February, 2006, the FBI issued the clearance within 30 days. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has now ordered USCIS to complete the adjudication of the application for permanent residence, originally filed on June 17, 1998, "forthwith".

"After years of neglect, inertia, and recalcitrance my client has received some measure of justice today for himself and the Middle Eastern community living in this country" said Kip Evan Steinberg of San Rafael, attorney for Mr. Aboushaban.

BACKGROUND - Mr. Aboushaban resides in Santa Rosa California and is the father of three U.S. citizen children. He was born in Gaza in 1953. He was living in Kuwait with his family at the time of the first Gulf war. He and his family were brought to the United States by the U.S. government under a special program for "Persian Gulf Evacuees" on September 23, 1990 for "humanitarian reasons" and instructed to apply for political asylum by officials of the U.S. government. Mr. Aboushaban filed the application on September 26, 1990. After waiting more than six years for his asylum application to be processed, he was granted political asylum on January 22, 1997.

Mr. Aboushaban next filed an application for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residence on June 17, 1998 with the Immigration Service in Portland, Oregon. He made numerous inquiries about the status of his application over the course of several years, and was informed each time that his application was pending a security clearance from the FBI.

On February 22, 2006 Mr. Aboushaban sued the Director of the FBI, the Attorney General of the United States, and various officials of USCIS asking the court to compel the government to process the necessary background checks and adjudicate his application for permanent residence. On October 24, 2006 the federal court ordered the government "to adjudicate his application forthwith."

For the complaint, see here. For the decision, see here.

About The Author

Kip Evan Steinberg, Esq. is a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law and has received the highest possible rating ("AV") for legal ability. He was listed as a Northern California Super Lawyer in San Francisco Magazine in 2004, 2005, and 2006. For more information, visit

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.