Tag: mandamus

Lawsuit Nets Green Card for Chinese National after 2 Year Delay

The Hacking Law Practice, LLC, a national immigration law firm based in St. Louis, Missouri, recently filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C.  The lawsuit sought a judicial order compelling USCIS to decide a long-pending I-130 spouse petition and the accompanying I-485 adjustment of status application.

Our clients are a husband and wife from New York City.  The wife is a Chinese foreign national.

The couple applied for adjustment of status for the wife back in April of 2016.  The New York field office had been playing games with their case for months and months.

First, USCIS issued a request for evidence.  Then they delayed the adjustment of status interview for months and months.  The immigration agency then issued a second request for evidence.

The couple repeatedly and consistently contacted USCIS trying to get their case moving.  They could never get any answers at their InfoPass appointments.

In fact, USCIS tried to deny the case, but they never sent the denial notice and then tried to send a back-dated denial notice.  The agency really did a horrible job of processing the case and kept making mistake after mistake.

The couple went to the New York field office and requested that the case be reopened.  They pointed to the fact that the agency had never actually sent them the denial notice.

The case was reopened.  However, USCIS then quickly turned around and denied the case again.

The couple returned to the field office and highlighted all of the problems that the office had caused and met with a supervisor.  USCIS decided to reopen the case once again.

And then nothing happened.  Nothing.

The case dragged on for months and months.

The husband and wife found our law firm on the web.  They heard about how we like to sue USCIS and related agencies for delays in the processing of citizenship, adjustment, asylum and visa cases.

Firm attorney Jim Hacking met with the couple over Skype and they decided to hire us to sue USCIS.

We filed suit on June 27, 2017 in federal court.  We then served copies of the lawsuit on each of the defendants by certified mail.

Things then began to move quickly.  We first received an approval notice and then late this week, the couple received their long delayed green card in the mail.

The best part is that because the couple had been married so long before the green card was approved, they received a 10-year green card.

Happy to have been able to help this very nice couple.

I Became a U.S. Citizen Today!

It’s not often that you receive an email with a headline like this.

But that is exactly what one of our clients happily reported to us last week.

His name is Nurudeen.  He is a doctor in Wisconsin.

Here’s what else he had to say:

Can’t thank you enough for your professional advice and promptly filling my [writ of mandamus] which I believe expedited my naturalization interview.
I highly appreciate Andrew Bloomberg services and review with me..
It’s a glorious day in my life thanks. Attached is my picture and certificate.

Thank you and best regards.

Nurudeen also was kind enough to include the picture from his oath ceremony.

Nurudeen contacted our office two months ago.  He had been waiting for his naturalization interview for months and months.  He tried to get answers from USCIS but to no avail.

Nurudeen contacted his members of Congress and called the 1-800 USCIS number over and over.

Nothing worked.

We scheduled a Skype call to find out what was going on with Nurudeen and to ask him why he thought his case might be delayed.  Nothing made a lot of sense as he is a physician and is taking care of sick people in Wisconsin every day.

We decided to file a writ of mandamus lawsuit on Nurudeen’s behalf.  We filed the suit in the district court for the District of Columbia.  We served copies of the lawsuit on the Department of Homeland Security, US Citizenship & Immigration Services, John Kelly (DHS Secretary), Jeff Sessions (Attorney General) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Things started happening quickly at that point.  Nurudeen finally received his naturalization interview notice.  Andrew Bloomberg from our office attended in the interview with Dr. Nurudeen last week and he was approved on the spot

He became one of our newest citizens last week and we could not be happier for him.

Congratulations, Dr. Nurudeen!

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.

 

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

The great Writ of Mandamus and how it can help speed up your immigration case.

What is a writ of mandamus and how can it help expedite my immigration case. Hi. I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law around the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. Plenty of immigrants come to our office, call us, phone us, visit us on the web, and they’re complaining about delays at the immigration service or delays at the State Department in getting a visa approved and they’re really at their wits end. They don’t know what else to do.

These very good people have called the 1-800 number at USCIS, they’ve made infopass appointments, they’ve gone down to the immigration service to ask and complain, they’ve documented all of their efforts to try to get relief at immigration or with the State Department, they’ve called their senator, they’ve called the CIS Ombudsman, they’ve called the main office. They’ve gone up the chain of command and they just can’t get any relief. At this point, they’re completely frustrated. Some people wait for benefits like citizenship or green card or visa approval for years and years. The immigration service or the State Department basically tell people just to wait.

This brings in the writ of mandamus. It’s a very old phrase. It’s basically a legal mechanism that allows you to go into federal court and to ask a federal judge to make the immigration service, or the State Department, decide your case. Obviously the State Department and USCIS have discretion and whether or not to give somebody an immigration benefit. That means they can either approve or deny a case. That part’s clear. What the writ of mandamus does is it makes them actually decide the case. It’s not a guarantee that your case is going to be approved but what happens is that the federal judge looks at the case and asks why is it taking so long. If all the lawsuit seeks to do is to obtain action on behalf of the federal agency that has the case, then the court has jurisdiction to compel action on behalf those agencies.

It’s not a nice way of doing things. It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to do but in our experience it’s the only thing that gets the immigration service or the State Department to pay attention to a case. I’m sure if you’re watching this video, you’ve been experiencing delays yourself. You’ve heard a little bit about this writ of mandamus so we wanted to shoot this video to try and break it down for you.

Basically what we do is we draft a complaint and we file it federal court. After that, the government has 60 days to respond. In many of the cases, we get movement within those 60 days. Things start happening. Interviews get scheduled. Requests for evidence get sent so they can update their records and you can sort of find out what the problem is. In some instances, after the law suit it filed, you get called in for another interview or your first interview. Basically, the government has to respond within 60 days to that lawsuit. In most cases, they try to moot out the case and they do that by deciding the case. It costs extra money. It’s not fun. It’s not fair that you have to do this but in our experience, it’s the only thing that works.

We thought when we started filing these lawsuits that the immigration service would take it personally and would be upset that we sued. In fact, we found that really they sort of understand the process. They understand what’s going on and it really is that scrutiny from a federal judge that makes them work to decide the case. In some instances, the government does decide to fight and they do that sort of on a case by case basis but we can probably count on one hand the number of instances where they actually did go ahead and fight. In the vast majority of cases, they decide to work on the case and to reach a conclusion either right before the 60 days are up or shortly thereafter. They can ask for a continuance which we’re happy to provide if that means that they’re going to finally decide the case.

These lawsuits work in certain kinds of cases. They work in naturalization delays, green cards delays, and we’ve even had success suing the State Department over people’s spouse-base visas overseas. In our research, we’ve come across all kinds of cases where this has actually worked. A lot of it depends on which judge you get. Some judges are receptive to the plight of the aggrieved immigrant. Other judges bend over backwards to try to help the immigration service and to give them as much latitude in deciding the case as they can. There is certainly an element of luck to it. We no means guarantee that the case is going to be approved but we have filed lawsuits like this on behalf of 70 or 80 people so far and our clients have been very happy with the results.

I was a litigator before I practiced immigration law. I feel comfortable in the courtroom and drafting lawsuits and dragging the immigration service into court so we can bring into the light what’s been delayed, what’s been hassled about, and what we’ve been frustrated with is actually a really good way to use my legal skills and to help people at the same time. If you have experienced delays at the immigration service and you’re thinking about filing a writ of mandamus, if you have questions about how this works, about how the Administrative Procedures Act requires the government to decide things in a reasonable amount of time, these are the kinds of things that we talk about. These are the kinds of things that we put into the lawsuit. If you have questions about that, feel free to give us a call at 314-961-8200 or you can email us at jim@hackinglawpractice.com.