REAVLEY, Circuit Judge:
When, 120 days after the required examination of the applicant, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS") has not granted or denied an application for naturalization, the applicant may ask a U.S. district court to adjudicate the application. Does the 120 days begin to run after the first examination or after the mandatory background investigation is complete? The district court held the latter and dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Reviewing the record de novo,
Shabir Hussein Walji, a Ugandan native and Canadian citizen, has been a lawful permanent resident since October 16, 1980. Walji filed a Form N-400 Application for Naturalization with CIS in September 2003. An immigration officer interviewed Walji on April 6, 2004 and informed Walji that he passed English language, U.S. history, and U.S. government proficiency examinations. However, the officer informed Walji that action would not proceed on his application until the FBI completed a mandatory national security background check.
When Walji received no answer on his application, he began asking questions. The record is replete with correspondence between Walji and various officials. Two years and a day after his first examination, Walji filed this lawsuit and asked the district court to 1) assume jurisdiction over and adjudicate his application for naturalization
The district court held that the 120-day time period for approval or denial of the application begins to run only when the application requirements are complete and that Walji's application was not complete because the FBI had not concluded its background investigation. Because the 120-day time period was never triggered, the district court held that it lacked jurisdiction over Walji's lawsuit and dismissed it. The district court also implicitly denied Walji's petition for a writ of mandamus.
The examination process that accompanies an application for naturalization in Walji's case is governed by federal regulations, which provide in pertinent part that:
8 C.F.R. § 335.2(b) (emphasis added). The investigation provided for in the regulation is mandated by statute. See Department of Justice Appropriations Act of 1998, Pub.L. No. 105-119, Title I, Nov. 26, 1997, 111 Stat. 2448 ("During fiscal year 1998 and each fiscal year thereafter, none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Immigration and Naturalization Service shall be used to complete adjudication of an application for naturalization unless the Immigration and Naturalization Service has received confirmation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that a full criminal background check has been completed. . . .") reprinted in historical and statutory notes to 8 U.S.C.A. § 1446; see also 8 U.S.C. § 1446(a).
An immigration officer administers an examination, which includes tests in English language, United States history, and United States government, § 335.2(c), and then "[a] decision to grant or deny the application shall be made at the time of the initial examination or within 120-days after the date of the initial examination of the applicant for naturalization under § 335.2," § 335.3(a). By statute,
8 U.S.C. § 1447(b).
Walji contends that § 1447(b)'s 120-day time period began to run on the date of the examination by the immigration officer, notwithstanding the fact that the FBI had not—and still has not—completed its background investigation. Walji cites several district court cases to that effect,
It is clear in this case that events have occurred — or not occurred — out of order. Before the officer administered the examination to Walji, the FBI was supposed to provide a "definitive response" that its background investigation was complete. That did not happen. Instead the officer went ahead with the examination. There is nothing inherently pernicious in conducting the process out of order,
Walji argues for a "plain meaning" interpretation of 8 U.S.C. § 1447(b). Under his theory, the statute's use of the words "date" and "conducted" makes the examination a single event that triggers the 120-day period. Walji also argues that because the statute differentiates between examinations, as in § 1446(b), and investigations, as in § 1446(a), we should not read the examination described in § 1447(b) as tethered to the required security investigation. That would be a reasonable construction of the law, but it is not necessarily the command.
First, the plain meaning of a statutory provision should not render another section of the statute superfluous.
Looking to the statutory and regulatory framework as a whole, from which we draw inferences of intent,
We also affirm the district court's denial of the writ of mandamus. Government delay alone, unless it is shown to be in bad faith or extraordinary, does not warrant such an extraordinary remedy. Cf. In re Monroe Commc'n Corp., 840 F.2d 942, 945 (D.C.Cir.1988) ("Mandamus is an extraordinary remedy, warranted only when agency delay is egregious.").