Tag: delay

Why Is My Asylum Case Taking So Long?

Why is my asylum case taking so long?

Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer, practicing law throughout the United States at our office in St. Louis, Missouri. We’ve been getting a lot of calls lately from people who have filed for asylum in the United States or seeking refuge here in the U.S. and they’re wondering, “Why in the heck is my case taking so long?” They’re a lot of factors to this question and it definitely is worth shooting a video to discuss.

As we shoot this video here in 2017, it’s important to keep in mind that the number of asylum applications has skyrocketed over the last few years. We had the so-called mother and children surge across the southern borders back in ’15 and ’16 where a number of women and children were fleeing violence in places like Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and they had made their way through Mexico to the United States, and that has required a lot of work by asylum officers, and that has stretched an office that is already stretched to the breaking point even further.

The fact is that we do not have enough resources dedicated to adjudicating asylum applications in a timely manner. What does that mean in plain English? It means that the government doesn’t have enough money to process these cases properly and in an efficient manner. Another reason the cases are taking so long is because for many applicants, it’s simply impossible for the government to do what they consider to be proper background checks, and they’re really falling behind in processing these cases.

Asylum applicants from predominantly Muslim countries are seeing their cases take three, four or five years to be adjudicated, and one of the main reasons is is that places like Syria and Iraq, they are not good records that are still available and that prevents the asylum officers from doing their job and determining whether or not the person seeking asylum in the United States is a security risk or not.

Instead of deciding the cases, they’re simply sitting on the cases. We have seen these cases drag on and on. The people are having to apply for work authorizations over and over, and there’s really not any sense of urgency on the part of the asylum offices to get these cases adjudicated. Really in our office the only ones that we’ve seen get adjudicated are cases where the applicants are very old or it’s a female applicant, but basically men from Muslim countries who are seeking asylum are seeing their cases take a very, very long time to adjudicate.

What are the things that we can do to try to move those things along? Really there’s not that much to do. You can send letters. You can contact the asylum office. If you haven’t had your interview, you can ask for an expedited interview or to take a slot from someone whose asylum interview gets postponed because the applicant can’t attend. You can get on the short list and try to attend the interview on short notice.

This carries with it its own risk because you have to be ready to go on basically a moment’s notice, to go and plead your case as to why you think you need asylum in the United States. Short of that, really the only other thing that works is filing a lawsuit against the immigration service, against the asylum office, but because of the great discretion that asylum officers have in deciding these cases, we’ve been very reluctant to file lawsuits on these cases. I think federal judges are going to give the asylum office a lot more leeway then they might in other cases now.

Delays of three, four or five years might be on their very face unreasonable and that might allow a lawsuit to proceed. We’ve had some success with asylum lawsuits. We have another one pending now. We’ve had another one where a guy was waiting for four years. We filed suit, and we got him his asylum approved after two long interviews. For the most part, when you’re applying for asylum, you’re basically asking for a very generous gift from the United States government and they frankly have a lot of leeway in who they give it to. We can complain all we want about these case taking too long, but really there’s not that much leverage short of a lawsuit that lawyers or asylum applicants have.

If you have any questions about why your asylum case is taking too long, or if you’re thinking about applying for asylum and you have questions, be sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com.

If you liked this video, be sure to click on the like button below. Share it with your friends and family so they can find out about asylum as well, and make sure to subscribe to all of our channel on YouTube and Facebook. Join our Facebook group Immigrant Home so that you get updated as soon as we update all of our social media. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

 

 

Two Months After We Sue USCIS, Imtiaz Becomes a U.S. Citizen

Our office was hired earlier this year to file a mandamus lawsuit against USCIS and various other federal agencies because they were taking too long to decide a naturalization case filed by our client, Imtiaz.

His case was stuck at the Tampa field office of USCIS and he could not get any answers when he asked why his case had taken more than a year and a half to decide.

There was nothing unusual about his case.

No problems with the law.

No problems with immigration.

Imtiaz was a successful IT professional and a very nice fellow.

We filed suit on behalf of Imtiaz in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on April 21, 2017.  The lawsuit asked a federal judge to compel USCIS to decide his case.  We also asked the judge to examine a previously-secret program known as the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CARRP) and to determine whether the program was illegal.

We believed (and still believe) that USCIS was delaying Imtiaz’s case because of his religion and his country of origin.

Once we served each of the defendants with a copy of the complaint and two copies of the federal summonses, things started happening on Imtiaz’s long delayed case.

We were quickly contacted by the assistant U.S. Attorney who had to defend the lawsuit.  The AUSA informed us that Imtiaz would be scheduled for a naturalization interview immediately.

The interview was held on June 7, 2017 in Tampa.  Firm attorney Jim Hacking attended the interview which went very smoothly.

The supervisor who conducted the interview requested just a few pieces of additional evidence.  We provided all documentation requested to the Tampa field office the following day.

After a few more weeks of processing, Imtiaz’s case was approved and he was scheduled for his oath ceremony.  In Tampa, if you are not changing your name, you can be naturalized at the local USCIS office, which is what happened in Imtiaz’s case.

On June 27, 2017, Imtiaz was sworn in as a U.S. citizen.  From the time we filed suit until the time that he became a citizen, just a little over two months of time had gone by.

We are very happy for one of the newest U.S. citizens around.

 

 

How Do I Know if My Case is Delayed by CARRP

What is the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program and how might I figure out if my case is subject to it?

Hi my name is Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

A lot of people have not heard of CARRP which is the Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program. CARRP was a program started about 10 years ago, in secret by the federal government and what it is, is 35 agencies working together to slow down immigration to the United States by Muslims or people from predominantly Muslim countries. Around the world there are countries that are predominantly Muslim where many of the people that live there follow the Islamic faith and the government decided in secret to start holding these cases to extra scrutiny. In fact, what they do is they assume that the person whose applying from this predominantly Muslim country, is in fact a terrorist or a bad person and then sort of works through backwards a system to get the person off the list.

This results in cases taking much longer for people from those countries and so, we see this with people from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen throughout the Middle East, Afghanistan, South Asia many of these countries have people that then fall into this trap of CARRP and they can’t find their way out. People ask me sometimes how do I know whether my case is subject to CARRP? How do I know whether my case is being delayed? The first sign I think is that if your case is taking more than a year. If your case is far outside normal processing times, that’s usually a good sign that your case is being delayed due to CARRP.

Another sign is that if the FBI has come to visit you in the past, either at your home or your business and this could be 15 years ago, basically if the FBI has touched your immigration file in anyway, this often leads to delays because immigration officers are reluctant to move the case along and you might have to take some extra measures to get your case resolved. We’ll talk about those in another video, but for now we’re just talking about the signs. We talked about if the case is taking more than a year. We’ve talked about if the FBI has come to visit. If you take a lot of trips overseas this is another thing that can slow down your immigration case if you’re visiting predominantly Muslim countries. This will slow down your immigration case.

If you send a lot of money overseas, or receive money from overseas, these are other things that might have raised a flag in your file. If you had any kind of interaction with law enforcement outside the FBI, if you’ve been detained by immigration officials or state or local law enforcement officials, these are other things that can get your case slowed down.

If you got your immigration benefit, if you got your green card or some earlier benefit without an interview, this is another way that things can slow down later, so the immigration service sometimes scrutinizes cases heavily when there haven’t been past opportunities, like in an employment visa context to interview someone. If you ever gotten any kind of conflicts at your place of worship or with other people, if anyone’s ever gone down to the immigration office and said bad things about you, these are things that can really cause you to be placed under the CARRP list and have your case delayed.

If you continually make InfoPass appointments and call the 1-800-USCIS number, and you don’t get any answers this another sign that your case is being delayed by CARRP. We have a lot of people who contact us at the end of the rope. They’re pretty frustrated, they’ve done all those things I’ve just listed plus they’ve contacted their members of congress, if you can’t get any kind of answers, if they tell you things like “Err, we are looking for your file” or “your case is on background check” or “security check”, these are all signs that your case is being delayed by CARRP.

In other videos we talk about what you can do, how you can file a lawsuit against the immigration service and the other government agencies involved in CARRP. The program has been challenged in Court, so far the immigration service has been allowed to continue the program and so for now, your only recourse really is to file a lawsuit, a writ of mandamus to try to ask a federal Judge to compel immigration to rule on your case. We’ve litigated many of these cases, we have handled many.

Green card delay cases, citizenship delay cases, overseas visa delay cases and even asylum delay cases. If you have any questions about this, how this works, how a lawsuit might help, get you off the CARRP list and get your case moving along again, feel free to give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com.

If you liked this video, please be sure to click the like button, share it with your friends and make sure that you subscribe to our YouTube channel and have a great day. Thanks a lot.

 

Can a writ of mandamus help in delayed asylum cases

 

Can a writ of mandamus lawsuit work for people who have delayed asylum cases? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of office here in St. Louis, Missouri. You know one of our favorite things to do here at the Hacking Law Practice is to file lawsuits on behalf of immigrants who’ve been waiting too long for immigration benefits. Typically, we do that in the citizenship context, so probably over a hundred people have benefited from working with us to file lawsuits on their behalf against the USCIS. The way it works is you file a lawsuit, you ask a federal judge who doesn’t work for the immigration service, who’s appointed for life and who is not part of the executive branch, to compel the immigration service to decide a case.

We’ve had people who’ve been waiting for their citizenship for one, two, three, four, five, even nine years benefit from us filing a lawsuit. When you file a lawsuit, it generally requires the USCIS to take the case off the shelf. For some reason, they’ve taken people’s cases and put them up on the shelf, and the lawsuit makes them explain the source of the delay. When delays have gone on for a really, really long time, the agency usually does not want to fight. They just want to move the case forward. We oftentimes get positive movement on the cases, oftentimes scheduling an interview or scheduling an oath ceremony.
We’ve always known that it works in the citizenship context. We’ve also had success, which you can learn about on other videos, when it comes to green card delays. We even had success suing the State Department for delays in processing immigrant visas for the spouses of US citizens. The one thing we’ve never done before is file a mandamus action for someone who had been waiting for asylum. One of the reasons we were reluctant to do that is we weren’t entirely sure, given the fact that the immigration service and the asylum office has so much discretion in granting or denying asylum, we were reluctant to file a lawsuit on the asylum front. We weren’t sure if it was going to work.

About six months ago, we were hired by a very nice couple from Syria who happen to live in Michigan. They had filed for asylum in December of 2012. They had their interview just a few months later, which is unusual, but it does happen. Sometimes, randomly, certain asylum cases get assigned very quickly to an interview. Their interview happened literally six weeks after they filed. The interview was in January of 2013, and at the time that they hired us in October of 2016, they had been waiting for three and a half years for their decision. They had done everything they could do to try to get help. They had contacted the CIA ombudsman. They had contacted their senators and representatives in Michigan, and they had made numerous InfoPass appointments, and they just couldn’t get any movement.

One thing to keep in mind is this couple had hired the largest immigration law firm in the country. If I told you their name, you’d have heard of them. They have offices around the country and around the world. I think generally they specialize more in business immigration, and while they did take this asylum case, when I reviewed the paperwork that had been filed, I didn’t think they had done a very job. Specifically, what I complained about was the fact that the statement that was submitted in support of the asylum application was all over the map. It wasn’t very focused. It left a lot of things wide open and a lot of issues for inquiry by the asylum officer.

I talked to my client about how the initial interview had gone. He said that it had gone very well, that the officer had talked to them for about an hour, which is also unusual, and that the asylum case, he was told by the officer, would be approved in a couple of months. None of that made real sense. Nonetheless, we decided to file a lawsuit. We filed suit in Chicago, because that’s where our client’s asylum case was pending. We filed it in federal court. We served copies on the defendants, and pretty quickly, he got rescheduled for another interview. That was last January. I attended the interview with my clients. It was a long day. My client had a lot to say, and they had a lot of ground to cover. They were revisiting and reissuing focus on the case and the questions that had been answered back in 2013, and they wanted to make sure that my client had not supported any kind of groups that the United States was worried about in Syria.
When the interview was over, we thought that we had done a good job and that we would be getting a decision shortly.

It turns out that we had to wait a little bit longer. Now, the defendants had a certain amount of time to answer the lawsuit. Typically, it’s 60 days, but because they were working with us, we had given them some extensions and were coming up against a new deadline. I got a call from the US attorney who was defending the lawsuit to tell me that, lo and behold, the immigration service, the asylum office, wanted to interview our client one more time. Now, I took this as a good sign, because I figured if they wanted to deny the case, they wouldn’t call us back in for another interview, but that’s in fact what they did. This week, we went up to Chicago and had a third interview on the asylum case. It was relatively quick, but it was about an hour long.

One thing the attorney had told me when he called was that he was willing to promise that we would leave the asylum office that day with a decision. It was a very stressful day for my client and for me. We went through that hour-long third interview, and then they asked us to wait so they could talk to the supervisor. They had a few more questions after that, and then we had to wait a few hours while they issued their decision. We spent that time pacing back and forth in the asylum office. It was back like when I had trial work, and I was waiting on a jury. I really wasn’t sure which way it was going to go. The officer didn’t want to come out and see us herself. She had the lady at the front window give us the decision, so we’re sitting there waiting for the decision. It was very suspenseful. I was very worried.

The decision was sitting across from us. I couldn’t tell what it said. I was pretty sure that it was going to be a denial, but the agent happily told us that our client had been approved. His long four-and-a-half year wait for asylum had been granted, that he’d been granted a parole into the United States, and that he was going to be treated as an asylee, that a year from now, he can apply for a green card, and then five years after that, he can apply for citizenship. This happened on a day that there was a horrible gas attack in Syria, so it only led more importance and significance to the victory. We were very, very excited for our client and his wife and his two lovely US citizen daughters. They’re not going to have to go back to Syria or to leave the United States. It was quite a victory, and we’re really happy for our clients.

Lesson learned. If an asylum case has been pending for a really, really long time … It’s not going to work in every case, and I would say a delay of two or three or four years is sort of the minimum before we file a lawsuit, but to know that the immigration service, the asylum office, and the US attorneys will work with us on asylum cases is a very valuable lesson.

If you have experienced delay in any kind of immigration case, whether it’s citizenship, green cards, visas, anything, make sure to give us a call at the Hacking Law Practice, 314-961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, be sure to click the subscribe button below. Give us a like and a shout out on social media. We’d really appreciate it. It’s a big help. If you have questions that you want us to cover, just feel free to email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com, and we’ll try to shoot a video for you. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

 

Indian Doctors Face Deportation Due to Paperwork Error

Two Indian physicians who reside in Houston, Texas, face imminent deportation from the United States due to a paperwork error.

Dr. Pankaj Satija is a neurologist who helped found the Pain and Headache Centers of Texas.  His wife, Dr. Monnika Ummat, have resided in the U.S. for many, many years.  Dr. Ummat is also a neurologist.  She specializes in treating epilepsy at Texas Children’s Hospital.  They are the parents of 2 U.S. citizens, 7-year-old Ralph and 4-year-old Zoeey.

The pair faced removal last week after immigration officials refused to extend Dr. Satija’s and Dr. Ummat’s temporary permission to stay in the U.S.  The decision by Homeland Security may cause dozens of Texans who suffer from neurological disorders to be without their doctors.

“I have 50 patients today and 40 patients tomorrow,” said Dr. Satija. “I’m just concerned they’ll be left in a lurch. They could land up in the emergency room.”

The Houston Methodist Hospital System sponsored Dr. Satija for a green card (lawful permanent resident status) in 2008.  Dr. Ummat would be eligible to adjust status as his spouse.  But because the couple are from India and because USCIS has a nearly decade-long backlog for Indian professionals to adjust status, they have not yet received their LPR status.

The couple regularly renewed their travel documents and work authorizations.  But last year, their permission to travel abroad was extended for only one year instead of two years, which had typically been what they received.  Later snafus by Customs and Border Patrol contributed to the confusion.

The couple never noticed the problem.  Then Dr. Satija’s brother called from India to tell him that their father had been admitted into intensive care and was gravely ill.  The entire family flew to India.

When they returned to the U.S., they learned that they had left the U.S. on expired advance parole documents (the formal name for the travel documents).

CBP allowed the couple to enter the U.S. on deferred inspection, which means they were allowed in but would have to explain how they believed they were entitled to stay at a later date.

When they brought their paperwork back to CBP, they were initially told that everything would be okay.  But the next day, they were told “[s]omebody up there has decided you have to leave the country in the next 24 hours.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, in two expansive immigration memos the Trump administration issued in February, it directed the nation’s three main immigration agencies to “sparingly” use the practice of parole, though it hasn’t yet detailed the new regulations.

At the end of last week, DHS did agree to give the couple another 90 days to try and sort out the situation.

This story demonstrates a few themes we talk about at the Hacking Law Practice on a regular basis.

First, it is absolutely ridiculous that we have an immigration system that takes nine years for a pair of super-qualified doctors from India to get lawful resident status.

Second, it is absurd that we are even talking about the possibility of deporting these people who serve sick Americans every day of their lives.

Third, immigrants are awesome and help this country every day.

 

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.

What if my Marriage-Based Work Card is Going to Expire?


What happens if my work and travel card expire before my green card interview?

Hi. I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

The St. Louis field office and some other offices around the country have gotten behind on processing spouse-based green card cases. These are situations where a US citizen has a foreign-born national spouse, and they want to sponsor that spouse for a green card. With any one of these applications, we always file the I-45, which is the application to adjust status, the I-130, which is a petition for an alien relative. We also file for work authorization and for advanced parole, so the foreign national can leave the United States if they have to.

In 95% of the cases, the interview occurs before those temporary travel document and work card expire. What happens in the 5% of the situation where that doesn’t occur, where the work card is set to expire before the interview?

Here’s what we do at our office. We always monitor the expiration dates of the work card and the travel document. The one thing we don’t want to happen is to have our clients be without the ability to work or to travel outside the United States while the green card case is pending. In St. Louis, they got way behind because of the election and because of the number of naturalization cases that they had to process, so they started delaying having the interviews on the green cards. Now, they are approaching the time where our clients’ original work card and travel document have expired.

The good news is that you can apply for a renewal. You have to submit 2 more passport photos, a new I-765, and a new I-131 for advance parole to make sure that you keep that process smooth, to make sure that you keep a newer card, a new travel document. Now, in a lot of these cases, we’re getting that right before or right after the green card interview, because they’re scheduling them right now about 14 months after filing, which is ridiculous, but it is what it is. We want to make sure that our clients have the ability to work and to leave the United States in an emergency if they need it. We’ve been filing that 4 months early, which is the earliest you can file it. You submit evidence that the green card case is still pending, and the prior approval notices, there’s no filing fee for that, so that’s the one good thing, but it is a hassle to have to do. Hopefully, the immigration service will get back on track and start scheduling these interviews in a timely manner.

If you have any questions about an expiring work card or travel document, make sure to give us a call at 314-961-8200, or you can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. If you like this video, please be sure to click Like below, and to sign up for our regular emails and videos, so that you understand and know when we submit a new video to YouTube. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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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.