United States District Court, D. Maryland
SEMAHET D. YONI
HENRY P. STAWINSKI, III, et al.
Semahet Yoni, a native and citizen of the Ivory Coast,
entered the United States on November 11, 1999 with a visa
waiver in B1 status. Plaintiff married on October 11, 2003.
(ECF No. 1, at 3). On July 26, 2004, police
responded to a domestic dispute between Plaintiff and his
wife where police found Plaintiff severely injured. (ECF
No. 1-7, at 3). The District Court for Prince
George's County, Maryland, issued Plaintiff a Temporary
Protective order against Plaintiff's wife on July 29
which was converted to a Final Protective Order on August 5.
(ECF Nos. 1-3, 1-4).
then applied for a U Nonimmigrant Status Certification
(“U-Visa”). A U-Visa grants nonimmigrant status
to victims of certain crimes who are cooperating with law
enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of those
crimes. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(15)(U). As part of
the U-Visa application process, Plaintiff submitted Form
I-918 Supplement B (“Form I- 918 B”) to Prince
George's County Police Department (“the
Department”). Form I-918 B certifies Plaintiff's
relevant criminal matter. An officer at the Department signed
Plaintiff's Form I-918 B on December 26, 2013, and
Plaintiff's U-Visa was approved by the Department of
Homeland Security (“DHS”) on December 3, 2014.
(ECF Nos. 1, 1-5).
years after Plaintiff's U-Visa was approved, Plaintiff
applied to change his immigration status and become a lawful
permanent resident. The application required Plaintiff to
submit a new Form I-918 B to the Department. Officials at the
Department declined to sign Plaintiff's new Form I-918 B
on November 6, 2017 because Plaintiff never initiated
criminal proceedings against his wife. (ECF No. 7-2, at
February 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint seeking a writ
of mandamus to compel Defendants Henry Stawinski, Chief of
the Department, and Rodney Gause, a sergeant, to sign his new
Form I-918 B. (ECF No. 1, at 7). Defendants filed
a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction on May 22, 2018.
(ECF No. 7, at 3).
courts “do not have jurisdiction to grant mandamus
relief against state officials.” In re Smith, 724
Fed.Appx. 220, 220 (4th Cir. 2018)
(citing Gurley v. Superior Court of Mecklenburg Cty., 411
F.2d 586, 587 (4th Cir. 1969));
see, e.g., Owens-El v. Maryland, No.
JKB-17-3057, 2017 WL 5257079, at *1 (Nov. 9, 2017)
(dismissing for lack of jurisdiction a complaint seeking a
writ of mandamus against non-federal entities); Martin v.
Maryland, No. PJM-16-2706, 2017 WL 3315274, at *5 (D.Md. Aug.
3, 2017) (dismissing for lack of jurisdiction a
complaint seeking a writ of mandamus against a state court).
Accordingly, Plaintiff's complaint seeking a writ of
mandamus against county police officials must be dismissed
for lack of jurisdiction.
response contends that courts can issue writs of mandamus in
the U-Visa context because state officials are acting
pursuant to power delegated by Congress. (ECF No. 10, at
5). This is a misstatement of the U-Visa process. The
certification of U-Visas is exclusively the jurisdiction of
the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
division of DHS. 8 C.F.R. § 214.14(c)(1). Form
I-918 B is part of the initial evidence DHS uses to certify
that a U-Visa “applicant has been a victim of
qualifying criminal activity that the certifying
official's agency is investigating or
prosecuting[.]” 8 C.F.R. §
214.14(c)(2)(i). Under § 214.14(c)(2)(i),
federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies
investigating a crime pertaining to a U-Visa application can
complete Form I-918 B, and DHS retains the sole authority to
certify U-Visas. Thus, Plaintiff's argument is without
foregoing reasons, the motion to dismiss filed by Defendants
will be granted. A separate order will follow.
 Although Plaintiff signed his
complaint to proceed pro se, Plaintiff's
summonses, civil cover sheet, and motion in opposition of
Defendant's motion to dismiss all reference the Ryan
Konan law offices. On June 5, 2018, this court issued notice
to Mr. Konan stating that Local Rule 102.1.a.ii requires
attorneys who have prepared any documents submitted for
filing by a self-represented litigant must be members of the
Bar of this Court and must sign the document. (ECF No.
11). On June 11, 2018, Mr. Konan responded saying that
he represents Plaintiff in a separate immigration matter, and
that Plaintiff has not retained Mr. Konan's law office in
this matter. Plaintiff is thus regarded as proceeding pro
se without Mr. Konan's assistance.
 Although Defendants labeled their
motion as one seeking dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6), it sought dismissal for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction, and, therefore, it is properly construed
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).
 Even if jurisdiction existed,
“mandamus cannot be used to compel the performance of
discretionary duties, ” Infinity v. Wiggins, No.
RDB-10-1359, 2010 WL 3167925, at *1 (D.Md. Aug. 9,
2010), and the decision to sign a Form I-918 B is
discretionary. Ordonez Orosco v. Napoliatno, 598
F.3d 222, 226 (5th Cir. 2010); see United
States v. Biao, 98-cr-2812-BTM, 2011 WL 607087, at *1
(S.D.Cal. Feb. 11, 2011) (“The decision of ...