Category: Immigration Delay Litigation

Lawsuit Pays Off For Detroit Green Card Holder

This is our client, Bhavin.

Bhavin was born in India and came to the U.S. to study.

He is an engineer and works for Ford Motor Company. Bhavin lives near Detroit, Michigan.

Bhavin obtained lawful permanent resident status many years ago through his family.

In the summer of 2015, Bhavin filed an N-400 naturalization application with USCIS.

He underwent fingerprinting and biometrics at the Detroit USCIS Application Support Center.

Then he waited for his interview.

And waited. And waited. And waited some more.

He did everything that he could do to follow up with USCIS to see why his case had been delayed.

No one would give him a straight answer.

Bhavin went to InfoPass appointments at USCIS. That didn’t work.

Bhavin asked for members of Congress to help. That didn’t work, either.

Bhavin asked for the USCIS Ombudsman, who is supposed to be the consumer advocate at USCIS to intervene. Still that didn’t work.

Frustrated, Bhavin did not know what to do.

After waiting over 15 months and running out options, he took to the internet.

He found a forum on a website called Trackitt. This website allows people with similar problems to talk about them online and to post about possible solutions.

Bhavin found some references to a crazy immigration law firm in St. Louis that helps people whose immigration cases have been unfairly delayed.

He scheduled a Skype consultation with attorney Jim Hacking of our office.

Bhavin decided to sue USCIS after meeting with Mr. Hacking.

That was six weeks ago.

Today, Bhavin had his naturalization interview at the Detroit field office of USCIS.

The interview lasted about 30 minutes. Mr. Hacking flew in from St. Louis for the interview.

Everything went well and Bhavin was approved on the spot.

His oath ceremony is scheduled for one week from now.

Congratulations, Bhavin!

What Happens After You File a Lawsuit Against USCIS

What happens after you file a law suit against the Immigration Service for delaying your case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

We get this question a lot. A lot of people are sometimes on the fence about whether or not to sue USCIS, and the FBI, and other agencies regarding delays in their immigration cases, and we wanted to shoot this video to explain to you what happens, what the process is like.

In our office, we have filed probably 60 or 70 of these cases at the present time, and we have a pretty good system for getting them out. What we do is we craft the complaint to set out the facts of your case to explain why your immigration case has been taking so long, and, most importantly, all the efforts that you’ve made to try to get the case decided without filing a law suit. We list those kinds of things that people do, like file info pass appointments, calling their Congress person or their Senator, calling the USCIS ombudsman, all the different things that you can do to try to make your case go faster. Usually those don’t work and they’re left with having to decide whether or not to file a law suit.

We draft the complaint, because you want the court to know that you’ve made good efforts to try to get your case decided. Some people wonder, “How long is a wait too long? When should I start thinking about filing a law suit,” and we generally recommend that you don’t file a Mandamas Action or a delay action under the Administrative Procedures Act until about a year has gone by. It usually takes us a couple days to put the law suit together, and then we file it in federal court.

The filing fee in federal court right now is $400. That’s always subject to change, but it’s $400 to get the law suit on file, and after we file the law suit, we file it electronically, and the good thing about federal law is that we can generally file it anywhere around the country, but lately we’ve been filing them in Washington, DC. The DC court has more experience in handling these cases. The US Attorneys up there are more easy to deal with, easier to deal with, and we generally have a good experience so far with the DC District Court.

After the law suit is on file, the court issues what are called summons, and a summons is a notice to a defendant that they’ve been sued. Typically in our cases, we sue the US Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the heads of those agencies as well as the head of the FBI, and the FBI itself for delays in processing mostly citizenship cases, but, also, green card and VISA type cases.

The defendants might change, depending on what kind of case we have, but the process after that is pretty much the same. After the court issues summons and have them signed by the clerk of court, we then attach that to the summons and a copy of the law suit, and we send it by certified mail to the defendants. It usually takes them about ten days or two weeks to get the law suits, and then, at that point, the defendants have 60 days to file their response. In most instances, the government does not respond much until towards the end of those 60 days.

If you serve them let’s say on March 1st, then you’re generally going to hear something from them about the end of April, and usually what they do is they tell you what their plan is, but that is what gets the ball rolling, because, at that point, there’s now an Assistant US Attorney or Department of Justice attorney who is going to have to defend that law suit, and typically what they do is they contact their people at USCIS and Homeland Security, and they figure out what’s going on with the case. They figure out if they want to fight or if they want to just proceed with the case. It usually involves them scheduling someone for an interview, and then the case is really underway.

That’s the process from start to finish, from the time that you hire us and we draft the complaint and we file the law suit, and then typically there’s then another interview or an original interview, and then the case is handled the same.

The law suits are really effective to getting movement on your cases. If you have a case that’s been delayed, if you want to know about how the process works and are thinking about getting started with suing Immigration Service yourself in federal court, make sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@HackingLawPractice.com.

We hope you like this video. If you did, make sure that you leave us a comment or review, and then make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel or join our Facebook group, so that we can keep you posted as to any new videos that we submit.

Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

Does Mandamus Only Work in Delayed Citizenship Cases?

Do mandamus lost its only work and citizenship cases?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis Missouri. We’ve had a lot of success in suing the federal government, USCIS, and the Department of Homeland Security when our clients’ naturalization cases have taken too long.

The law says that if you’ve had your naturalization interview and 120 days have gone by, that you can go into federal court and ask a federal judge who doesn’t work for the immigration service to order the immigration service to decide your case, or the judge can decide on his or her own initiative whether or not you get to become a citizen.

The immigration service doesn’t like it when you sue them and they don’t like the idea that a federal judge will take their job from them. When you file a lawsuit, typically what happens in most cases is, they decide to decide the case. The case gets moving and cases that have been waiting for two, three, or four years can finally get resolved. That law, regarding the 120 days, is pretty black letter and the immigration service doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room. One of the tricks they try is they don’t schedule the interview right away.

Sometimes we’re filing lawsuits for naturalization applicants who have never had their interview because that doesn’t start that 120 day clock and that’s why they do it. We have had success in getting those cases moving. They’re not as highly successful as the ones where there’s been an actual interview, but we’ve probably filed suit on behalf of about 70 people who’ve been waiting for citizenship and the lawsuits generally work. They don’t work in every case, but they work in most cases. We wondered whether or not we’d be able to file these kinds of lawsuits and other cases in the immigration context, cases in which the naturalization was not an issue, but rather someone could get a green card.

One day a young man came to see me and he had filed his own mandamus against the immigration service because his green card case had been pending too long. They hadn’t scheduled him for an interview and his case had been pending for two years. He and his wife were getting frustrated that every time they went down to the immigration office that they couldn’t get any answers. He figured out how to draft a lawsuit and filed it on his own in federal court. We don’t recommend this.

Filing a mandamus action is actually pretty tricky, and the government was starting to play games with him, trying to change venue and filing a motion to dismiss and all these things. We wanted to see what would happen and we took this case. It turns out that the lawsuit worked almost the exact same way in the green card context as it did in the citizenship context. Since that time, we’ve probably filed 10 green card delay lawsuits and we’ve had a lot of good success with that.

Then one day a lady came to see me and she was wondering about her husband’s visa case. He was from Pakistan and his case had been pending for two years. We told her that she should sue them. She was sort of skittish and worried about suing them, so she didn’t do it. A year later she came back and now she’d been waiting three years. We told her, “You should sue the state department”. We had done some research and figured out that you could, in fact, sue the state department in federal court in the United States for a delay at an embassy overseas.

She was still skittish and still scared, so she decided not to do it. The fourth year she came back and she said, “Okay Jim, let’s go ahead and sue”. We filed the lawsuit and within 90 days after filing the lawsuit, her husband was in the United States with an approved visa. This was remarkable and it only happened because we filed the lawsuit. Now we know, and we have filed subsequently more lawsuits against the state department for delays in the issuance of a visa.

Last month, we filed a lawsuit over a four year delay on an asylum case. We’re very interested to see how this case works. It’s a lawsuit against a Chicago asylum office where a man has been waiting for four years for his asylum case to be approved. These are the kinds of things that you can do with a mandamus lawsuit. Not every immigration lawyer is familiar with the rules of federal court and filing lawsuits. I had been a litigator for 10 years before I started practicing immigration law, so I feel very comfortable in federal court, in the procedures, and the filing requirements, all those things.

We’re going to file a new lawsuit today over in Ohio. We’re excited about that, for a young man who’s been waiting for citizenship for two and a half years. These lawsuits work. They don’t work every time, but they work in a lot of the situations.

If you’ve been experiencing some kind of immigration delay, make sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can also e-mail us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. We hope you like this video, that you found it instructive.

If you have any questions about it, make sure to reach out to us. Make sure also, please to like this video down below. If you want to subscribe to our Youtube and Facebook channels, that would be great. You’ll get updates whenever we upload a new video.

After 2 Year Wait, Man Becomes Citizen Following Our Lawsuit

This is our client, Dr. Adeel. He lives in Alabama. He is a physician who has spent years serving our wounded and elderly military at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Birmingham.

Dr. Adeel became a lawful permanent resident in November of 2010. He waited four years and nine months and applied for naturalization with USCIS in September of 2010 (LPRs can apply 3 months early to become a citizen).

He was fingerprinted and then nothing happened on his case. The doctor waited months and months for an interview. USCIS refused to schedule him for an interview. The VA hospital tried to intervene on his behalf, but USCIS ignored them. The agency also ignored congressional liaisons who reached out to USCIS on Dr. Adeel‘s behalf. Nothing worked.

Dr. Adeel contacted us in early June of 2016 and asked for our help. We suspected that USCIS was unlawfully delaying his case because of his religion (Islam) and his ethnicity (Pakistan). We filed suit in the Northern District of Georgia on his behalf, challenging the unlawful delay.

The lawsuit challenged the so-called Controlled Application Review & Resolution Program, a formerly-secret government program designed to slow down immigration by Muslims to the United States.  We sought a judicial declaration that the CARRP program was illegal and an order to compel USCIS to decide Dr. Adeel’s case.

The government’s answer to the lawsuit was due on August 8, 2016. On July 28th, the agency notified us that they wanted to interview Dr. Adeel on August 2nd in Atlanta.

We informed Dr. Adeel who was very happy. He passed his civics test and was approved for naturalization. In fact, USCIS naturalized him on the spot. This after a wait approaching nearly 2 years!

A little over two months after he hired our office, he was a citizen.

Not every case works out like this one. However, we were certainly happy to bring his case to a positive resolution.

Congratulations to our newest citizen client, Dr. Adeel!

dr-adeel

When should I take worrying about whether my naturalization case is taking too long to be decided by USCIS?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We represent a lot of naturalization clients. We also get a lot of calls and visit to our website will people wondering “How long is too long for a naturalization case to take to be approved or denied by the Immigration Service? And what should I do if I feel like my case has been talking too long?” That’s a good question. It’s an important question, and a lot of people get really anxious when they file for naturalization. When they want to get their citizenship, especially in an election years.

 

Typically what happens when you file for naturalization is you get a biometrics appointment about 2 weeks after your case has been received, and then they do a background check. Eventually, you get set for an interview. Most interviews are taking about 5 or 6 months to get scheduled. Then, when you have your interview, the Immigration Service should not take that long to decide your case. The law says that if 120 days have gone by since the date of your interview, and you’ve not had a decision, then you have certain rights that kick in. The Immigration Service is keenly aware of this. They used to schedule interviews as a matter of course. I think the timing of it was set from the date of filing, or else from the date of the biometrics, the fingerprinting. Now, they often wait to schedule the interview until the background check is done, until the FBI name check is done, and they’ve run you through all of their criminal records checks.

 

We have been seeing more and more of a delay on the scheduling of the interview. The reason for that is that the interview starts a clock, a 4 month clock, a 120 day clock that says that if you’ve not received a decision in 120 days then you have the right to go into federal court and ask a judge to naturalize you. The judge can decide on his or her own whether or not you deserve to be a citizen, whether you’re a person of good moral character. They can direct the Immigration Service to naturalize you, or they can send the case back to the Immigration Service with an order that they decided within a certain amount of time. The Immigration Service is keenly aware of this 120 day deadline.

 

Once you’ve had that interview, and if you’ve experienced a delay of more than 4 months, that’s when you should start worrying. A lot of people when they have their interview will get a letter that says, “Congratulations. You’ve been approved,” or it will say that a decision cannot yet be made about your application. A lot of the visitors to our websites get really freaked out about this, and I understand why. Really, you shouldn’t because in most situations these days, you’re not going to go an outright approval at the interview in most situations. Often times, you’re going to get that letter than says basically, “I have to give it to a supervisor to have them sign off on it.”

 

In our mind, if 6 or 8 weeks have passed since the interview, then you might start worrying, but it’s really at that 120 day mark that you really want to start thinking about what your options are. We recommend that you not wait too terribly long in most cases after the 120 days. If you want to, you can file an action in federal court, and you can ask the judge to naturalize you. The Immigration Service doesn’t necessarily like having a federal judge look over their shoulder. Filing a lawsuit generally makes them move quicker. They know that the law says that the case is sort of out of their hands once the lawsuit’s been filed.

 

We really encourage you that if you’ve had your interview, don’t stress out too much if you don’t get a decision right away. Don’t stress out if it’s been a month of 2. Often times it depends on the naturalization ceremony schedule. They’re trying to figure out when they can get a group of people together to naturalize, and it might not be attributed to your case at all.

 

If you’ve been waiting 4, 5, or 6 months and if you had a strange vibe at your interview, then you might really want to think about suing them and filing that action in federal court. This is something that we do in our office all the time. We have a tremendous amount of experience with it. I even recently spoke to a group of about 100 immigration attorneys out in Las Vegas about it. It’s something that we’re very well equipped to handle, that we do a lot of. Don’t let that 120 days pass without exploring all of your options. If you want to know about this or if you have questions about it, feel free to give us a call at 314-961-8200, or you can e-mail me at jim@hackinglawpractice.com. If you liked this video, please be sure to subscribe on our YouTube channel, and keep an eye out for future videos.

 

Thanks, and have a great day.

Lawsuit Helps Man Get Naturalized After Three Years of Waiting

This spring, our office was hired by a young man from Bangladesh.  The man was living in Chicago, working for a Fortune 500 company.  Despite his corporate success, his naturalization case was being delayed by USCIS.  The man had waited over three years to swear his allegiance to the U.S., but he could not get any answers from USCIS.

The man hired our firm to file a lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois.  We sued the director of USCIS, the head of the Chicago field office and the Attorney General of the United States.  The lawsuit was a “mandamus” action and sought a judicial order compelling the agency to decide our client’s long-pending case.

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The case had apparently been delayed due to military service that the man had performed back home in Bangladesh.  After we had the defendants served with a copy of the lawsuit, USCIS in Chicago quickly scheduled him for a re-interview to discuss the military issue.

We are happy to report that late last week, our client became a naturalized U.S. citizen.  After waiting more than three years and many efforts to get action his case, the lawsuit we filed for him did, in fact, compel the agency to finally decide the case.

Lawsuit against USCIS results in approved N-400 after year and a half delay

Late this summer, our office was contacted by an Egyptian green card holder named Mohamed.  The man had filed an N-400 naturalization application in January of 2013.  Shortly after he filed, USCIS scheduled him for a fingerprint appointment.  From that time until January of 2014, the man heard nothing.

Mohamed had filed his case with the help of a Tennessee immigration firm and they had filed everything properly.  Despite this, it took over a year for USCIS to schedule Mohamed for his naturaliation exam and citizenship interview.  Mohamed and his attorney arrived on the scheduled date, but at the last minute, the USCIS officer cancelled the interview.

Mohamed’s case languished throughout 2014.  Mohamed and his attorney made many efforts to get his case moving including calling the USCIS 1-800 number, making numerous InfoPass appointments and sending letters from his immigration attorney.  None of these efforts met with success.

Mohamed spoke with a friend of his in late summer of 2014.  Our office had helped this friend in a similar situation years ago and the friend recommended us to Mohamed.  Mohamed drove to St. Louis to meet with us and we agreed to file suit against USCIS on his behalf.

We filed a civil action against the Director of USCIS, the District Director, the Field Office Director and Attorney General Eric Holder.  We served copies of the lawsuit upon the parties and the local U.S. attorney.  The case quickly began moving.

First, Mohamed was contacted by local FBI agents and he met with them to discuss his immigration background.  We then quickly learned that an interview had been scheduled.  Last week, attorney Jim Hacking of our office and Mohamed appeared at the local office of USCIS.  The interview took less than 20 minutes and Mohamed passed his naturalization exam with flying colors.

Today, we received word that Mohamed’s N-400 had finally been approved.  This was just a little over two months since the lawsuit was filed.

His oath ceremony should take place in the next several weeks.  Our client is ecstatic.

We tell people all of the time that making calls to USCIS, writing letters, contacting members of Congress do not really get these cases moving.  In our experience, the only thing that works is filing suit in federal court.  The lawsuit is no guarantee that the case will be approved but it does force them to deal with the cases that USCIS has allowed to languish.

If you have been waiting for your citizenship or other immigration case to be approved, you should give us a call at (314) 961-8200 to see if we can help.

U_S_ District Courthouse - Memphis

 

 

St. Louis Immigration Lawyer Jim Hacking Files New Lawsuit Against USCIS

UPDATED:  We are happy to report that our client has been scheduled for his naturalization next Friday.  Shortly after we filed the lawsuit seeking to compel USCIS to act on this three year old naturalization application, USCIS scheduled our client for fingerprinting.  A week later, we went with our client to his naturalization interview.  He has been approved for citizenship and we will be dismissing the case after only two months.

PRIOR STORY: Our firm recently filed another lawsuit against USCIS over unlawful immigration delays.  We represent a man who has been a lawful permanent resident for over ten years.  In 2008, he applied for citizenship and filed all of the necessary paperwork.  He passed the naturalization examination and has been waiting three years for a decision on his case.

This man has made numerous InfoPass appointments, has called the USCIS 1-800 number on several occasions and has gone to the St. Louis immigration office to figure out what he could do to get his case moving.  In our experience, these actions do little to compel action by USCIS.

We filed a lawsuit against USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas, District Director Michael Jaromin and local office head Chester Moyer.  The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri. A federal statute, 8 U.S.C. Section 1447(b) allows a lawful permanent resident to file such an action and to request that the federal judge either naturalize the resident or compel action on the part of USCIS to fulfill their statutory obligation to adjudicate such cases.

Lawsuit against USCIS ends 9 year green card delay

Our office was recently retained by a husband and wife who worked for the University of Missouri system as professors.  They had come to the United States many years ago on an asylum application.  The husband had been involved in politics in his home country of Tunisia and had been granted asylum many years ago.

The husband and wife had applied for lawful permanent resident status in 2002.  USCIS had fingerprinted them, interviewed them and then sat on their application for years.  The husband and wife were dilligent in following up with the immigration service.  They updated their address at USCIS at every applicable juncture.  The case remained pending for years and years.  The couple had a prior attorney who sent letters to USCIS, but the delay continued.  They wrote members of Congress for help, but the Senators and Representatives could do nothing to help.  InfoPass appointments and call to the USCIS 1-800 number had not effect on the delay.

Extremely frustrated, the professors fired their prior attorney and hired us to sue USCIS in the Eastern District of Missouri federal court.  When they went to pick up their file from prior counsel, he claimed that there was nothing that our firm could do to make the case move faster.  We drafted and filed the lawsuit.  My assistant Adela served a copy of the lawsuit on the head of USCIS, the district director and the local sub-office director.  Within two weeks of receiving the lawsuit, USCIS approved the application.  My clients received their lawful permanent resident cards within one month of meeting with us.

Certainly not every case moves this quickly.  But we have found that the lawsuit is the most effective way to get the attention of USCIS.  It definitely helped in this case.  Instead of continuing to wait, our clients are now lawful permanent residents and on their way to citizenship.  Because of the change in government in Tunisia and because they now felt safe to travel on their green cards, my clients were able to visit their homeland for the first time in over a decade.

If you wish to discuss how a lawsuit against USCIS might help your case, please contact us at 314-961-8200 or send us an email through our Contact Us page.

Chicago Appellate Court Concludes District Court Not Stripped of Jurisdiction Despite USCIS Starting Deportation Proceedings

In the case of Klene v. Napolitano, a longtime permanent resident applied for citizenship.  USCIS denied the application, claiming that Trinidad Klene’s marriage to a US citizen had been fraudulent.  Federal law allows an LPR to ask a federal judge review the denial of a naturalization application under 8 U.S.C. 1421(c).  After Klene sought relief in the district court, USCIS moved to revoke Klene and deport him.

Our office has handled similar cases.  We fought for the right of the immigrant to have his case reviewed by a federal judge.  As in the cases we handled, the government argued here that another statutory provision, Section 1429, prohibited the district judge from reviewing the naturalization denial.  The statutory language actually says “[n]o application for naturalization shall be considered by the Attorney General if there is pending against the applicant a removal proceeding pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued under the provisions of this chapter or any other Act.”  The district court agreed with the government and dismissed the case.

Klene appealed and the Seventh Circuit began its analysis by reviewing what the other federal appellate courts had concluded.  The 10th Circuit had held that the district court action is mooted as soon as the Department of Homeland Security begins deportation proceedings.  The 4th and 5th Circuits previously decided that once the removal proceedings begin, the district court loses jurisdiction.  Three other circuits – the 2nd, 6th and 9th – had concluded that DHS’s commencement of deportation proceedings did not divest the district court from jurisdiction, but that only USCIS could decide the merits of the claim.  Finally, the Third Circuit had concluded that a declaratory judgment action in district court brought under section 1421(c) did not violate section 1429 because if the district court concluded the marriage was in good faith, the Attorney General could then naturalize the immigrant.

The Seventh Circuit ultimately followed the approach of the Third Circuit.  The appellate court then sent the case back to the district court to determine whether it was best to resolve the case at the district court level.

This case is typical of the overly aggressive approach of the federal government in these cases.  The government is loathe to have judicial review of their decisions, even decisions that are poorly reasoned.  Our office fights these types of cases and have won them at the district court level.  If you feel that you have been denied an immigration benefit to which you were entitled, please contact us at 314-961-8200 or on our contact page.