United States District Court, D. Maryland
KENIQUE D. REID, Petitioner,
MATTHEW G. WHITAKER, et al., Defendant.
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kenique D. Reid, a native of Jamaica and a U.S.
naturalization applicant, brought this action under 8 U.S.C.
§ 1447(b), which permits a naturalization applicant to
seek relief in the District Court if the agency does not make
a determination within 120 days after the naturalization
interview. ECF No. 1. Pending before the Court is a Motion to
Remand and Dismiss filed by Respondents Matthew G. Whitaker,
United States Attorney General; Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary
of Department of Homeland Security; Lee Francis Cissna,
Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration
Service (“USCIS”); and Greg L. Collett, Director
of the USCIS Baltimore District Office, ECF No. 15, and a
Motion for Leave to File Surreply filed by Mr. Reid, ECF No.
20. No hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D.
Md. 2016). For the following reasons, Respondentsâ Motion to
Remand and Dismiss is granted and Mr. Reidâs Motion for Leave
to File Surreply is denied.
Reid is a native and citizen of Jamaica, and he has been a
legal permanent resident of the United States since February
23, 2012. ECF No. 1 ¶ 6. On December 20, 2016, Mr. Reid
submitted his Application for Naturalization to the USCIS.
Id. ¶ 1. He was interviewed by Officer J. Sipes
in the USCIS Baltimore District Office on June 7, 2017.
Id. ¶ 2. He passed the English, U.S. history,
and government tests. Id. Over the last year and a
half, Mr. Reid has made numerous appointments with USCIS,
called USCIS for updates, and made inquiries through his
attorney in an attempt to get an explanation for USCIS’
delay in making a determination on his application, but to no
avail. Id. ¶¶ 4–5.
December 14, 2018, Mr. Reid filed a Complaint requesting that
the Court resolve his naturalization application pursuant to
8 U.S.C. § 1447(b). See Id . Respondents filed
a Motion to Remand and Dismiss on March 26, 2019. ECF No. 15.
Mr. Reid filed a response on April 20, 2019, ECF No. 16, and
Respondents filed a reply on May 3, 2019, ECF No. 17. On May
6, 2019, Mr. Reid filed a Motion for Leave to File
Surreply. ECF No. 20.
MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE SURREPLY
first issue to be considered is whether Mr. Reid’s
Motion for Leave to File Surreply should be granted.
“Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, surreply
memoranda are not permitted to be filed.” Loc. R.
105.2.a (D. Md.); see Nicholson v. Volkswagen Grp. of
Am., Inc., No. RDB-13-3711, 2015 WL 1565442, at *3 (D.
Md. Apr. 7, 2015) (citing Loc. R. 105.2.a (D. Md. 2001))
(“As a general rule, this Court will not allow parties
to file sur-replies.”). A “party moving for leave
to file a surreply must show a need for a surreply.”
MTB Servs., Inc. v. Tuckman-Barbee Const. Co., No.
RDB-12-02109, 2013 WL 1224484, at *6 (D. Md. Mar. 26, 2013).
“A court may permit a plaintiff to file a sur-reply if
a defendant raises new legal issues or new theories in its
reply brief, ” and “surreplies may be permitted
when the moving party would be unable to contest matters
presented to the court for the first time in the opposing
party’s reply.” Nicholson, 2015 WL
1565442, at *3 (internal punctuation omitted).
Mr. Reid has not shown a need for a surreply. In their reply
brief, Respondents contend that a case cited by Mr. Reid in
his opposition is inapposite to this case, and they reassert
that USCIS is ready to promptly resolve Mr. Reid’s
application and that Maryland district courts consistently
remand cases under these circumstances. ECF No. 17 at
These are not new legal issues or arguments; rather, these
statements are responses to arguments Mr. Reid makes in his
opposition or reaffirmations of arguments Respondents make in
their opening brief. Thus, Mr. Reid has had a full
opportunity to contest Respondents’ arguments because
they did not raise any matters for the first time in their
reply brief. Mr. Reid’s Motion for Leave to File
Surreply is therefore denied.
MOTION TO DISMISS AND REMAND
begin the naturalization process, an applicant must first
file an application for naturalization with USCIS.
See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1445(a), (d). Following
the filing of an application, USCIS is required to conduct a
background investigation and examination of the applicant.
See 8 U.S.C. §§ 1446(a), (b); 8 C.F.R.
§§ 335.1, 335.2. Under normal circumstances,
following the completion of the background investigation and
the examination of the applicant, a USCIS official is
authorized to make a determination to grant or deny the
application. See 8 U.S.C. § 1446(d); 8 C.F.R.
§ 335.3. This determination is to be made within 120
days following the initial examination of the applicant.
determination is not made within 120 days of the initial
examination, an applicant may file for review of his
application with a district court, pursuant to 8 U.S.C.
§ 1447(b). Section 1447(b) provides, in pertinent part:
If there is a failure to make a determination under section
1446 of this title before the end of the 120-day period after
the date on which the examination is conducted under such
section, the applicant may apply to the United States
district court for the district in which the applicant
resides for a hearing on the matter. Such court has
jurisdiction over the matter and may either determine the
matter or remand the matter, with appropriate instructions,
to the Service to determine the matter.
8 U.S.C. § 1447(b) (emphasis added).
present case, there is no dispute that more than 120 days
have passed since Mr. Reid was initially examined by an USCIS
official on June 7, 2017 – over two years ago.
See ECF No. 1 ¶ 2; ECF No. 15 ¶ 1.
Instead, Respondents urge the Court to remand the matter for
adjudication by USCIS claiming that USCIS is best equipped to
make a determination about Mr. Reid’s eligibility for
naturalization and is prepared to adjudicate the application
within thirty days of a court order dismissing the case.
See ECF No. 15 ¶¶ 3, 6. In opposition, Mr.
Reid asserts that Respondents have filed their Motion in bad