BURLINGTON — A prominent Vermont lawyer, in an effort to try to get his new wife a chance to live with him permanently at their Stowe home, has filed a federal lawsuit against top national figures, including U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Jon R. Eggleston and his new wife, Julie Ciarallo, also have named Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of U.S. Homeland Security, and Ana Escrogima, counsel general in Montreal, as defendants in the case filed in U.S. District Court in Burlington.
The lawsuit seeks to have the defendants issue a long-delayed immigrant visa to Ciarallo, who married Eggleston on Valentine’s Day 2020.
Ciarallo is a Canadian citizen but has filed all the appropriate paperwork in the U.S. to obtain the proper visa, according to Burlington attorney Kevin Henry, who represents the plaintiffs.
Ciarallo lives in Montreal and frequently visits Vermont, but wants her visa, Henry said.
An immigrant visa is issued to a foreign national who intends to live and work permanently in the United States. An intending immigrant becomes a lawful permanent resident once the visa and accompanying paperwork is reviewed and endorsed by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer, according to its website.
The federal court issued summonses to the four defendants on Dec. 29, and they will have three weeks to respond to the case.
Eggleston submitted a petition for an alien relative to the Department of Homeland Security on Aug. 17, 2020, and it was approved one year later, Henry said in the four-page lawsuit.
After the approval, the next step was to obtain authorization from the Consulate General in Montreal. Ciarallo’s application was initially denied April 4 because she failed to submit the original and one copy of a death certificate for Eggleston’s first wife, the lawsuit said.
Ciarallo was told that her application would have been approved that day except for the missing document. The missing paperwork was submitted two days later to the Consulate General, the lawsuit notes.
Now, nine months later, the Consulate General has taken no action, and Ciarallo’s medical screening and criminal background check are due to expire in April, Henry said in the lawsuit. He noted that “will cause further unreasonable delay if the application is not acted on before then.”
Eggleston also turned to the Office of then-Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vt. — who became a U.S. senator this week — for help, but as of the lawsuit filing, the plaintiffs “have not received any meaningful response.” All administrative remedies have been exhausted, the lawsuit said.
Eggleston and Ciarallo are asking that the visa request be adjudicated promptly and to award them reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
Eggleston served as president of the Vermont Bar Association in 1999-2000. He has focused on tax and corporate law since 1973 and in the area of international law, he represents Canadian and other foreign corporations having U.S. subsidiaries or affiliates, according to the website for Primmer Piper Eggleston & Cramer Inc.
Eggleston graduated from the University of Denver in 1968 and from Cornell Law School in 1971. He clerked for the Vermont Supreme Court in 1972-73. He later obtained a master’s degree in taxation from Georgetown Law Center in Washington, D.C., in 1975, while serving as a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.