Decline in Naturalization Application Lawsuits

Table 1. Naturalization Application Civil Filings
Number Latest Month 21
Percent Change from previous month -12.5%
Percent Change from 1 year ago -13.5%
Percent Change from 5 years ago -51.5%

December 2013 data from the federal courts reveal a continuing decline in new immigration suits against the federal government concerning naturalization applications. According to the case-by-case information analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a total of 21 new suits on naturalization disputes were filed. This monthly total is down 12.5 percent from the previous month when the number of civil filings of this type totaled 24, and down 51.5 percent from 5 years ago. See Table 1.

Naturalization lawsuits against the federal government involve alleged violations under a number of statutues, the most common being 8 USC 1329 Writ of Mandamus to Adjudicate Visa Petition, 8 USC 1446 Petition for Naturalization Hearing, and 8 USC 1447 Denial of Application for Naturalization Hearing.

Bar and line plot of fymon

Figure 1. Naturalization Application Civil Filings Over the Last Five Years

The long term trend in naturalization application civil filings going back five years is shown more clearly in Figure 1. The vertical bars in Figure 1 represent the number of naturalization application civil filings recorded each month. The superimposed line on the bars plots the six-month moving average so that natural fluctuations are smoothed out. One-year and five-year change comparisons are based upon the moving averages.

Top Ranked Judicial Districts

Understandably, there is great variation in the number of naturalization application civil filings in each of the nation's ninety-four federal judicial districts.

Table 2. Top 10 Districts
Judicial District Count Rank 1yr ago 5yrs ago
N. Y., E 4 1 2 4
Cal, E 3 2 - -
Fla, S 2 3 5 10
Ill, N 2 3 2 -
Cal, C 2 3 1 1
N. Y., W 1 6 - -
Penn, E 1 6 - -
Maryland 1 6 - -
Virg, E 1 6 5 5
Mich, E 1 6 - 2
Texas, N 1 6 5 -
Cal, N 1 6 5 2
Fla, M 1 6 - 10

  • The Eastern District of New York — with 4 civil filings — was the most active through December 2013. The Eastern District of New York was ranked 2nd a year ago, while it was ranked 4th five years ago.

  • The Eastern District of California ranked 2nd.

  • The Southern District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois and Central District of California now rank 3rd. The Southern District of Florida was ranked 5th a year ago, while it was ranked 10th five years ago. The Northern District of Illinois was ranked 2nd a year ago. The Central District of California was ranked 1st a year ago as well as five years ago.

The federal judicial district which showed the greatest growth in naturalization application civil filings compared to one year ago — 100.0 percent — was the Eastern District of New York. Compared to five years ago, the district with the largest growth — 100.0 percent — was the Southern District of Florida.

In the last year, the judicial District Court recording the largest drop in naturalization application civil filings — 50.0 percent — was the Central District of California. This was the same district that had the largest decrease — 77.8% — when compared with five years ago.

Each month, TRAC offers a free report focused on one area of civil litigation in the U.S. district courts. In addition, subscribers to the TRACFed data service can generate custom reports by district, office, nature of suit or federal jurisdiction via the TRAC Data Interpreter.

Report Date: January 23, 2014
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