How to Use the Federal Courts to Speed up Your Immigration Case
The only way that we have found to get USCIS moving on your case is to sue the agency in federal district court and ask a judge to compel USCIS to take action on your case.
How does it work?
Congress has enacted laws that empower individuals like you who have been waiting for too long to walk into federal court and ask the judge to force USCIS to decide a long-pending citizenship or lawful permanent resident case.
- For instance, if you have had your naturalization interview and more than 120 days (4 months) have passed, the law says that you can ask a federal judge to naturalize you or to order USCIS to rule on your naturalization application immediately.
- If USCIS has refused to schedule your naturalization interview, the law says that you may be able to go into court and ask the judge to force USCIS to take action on your case.
- Litigation over unreasonable delay in green card cases has also been very successful. The law says that any government agency, including USCIS, has a duty to decide cases in a reasonable amount of time. These statutory and regulatory provisions can be very helpful in getting movement on your case.
- USCIS does not like getting sued. Government officials do not like federal judges looking over their shoulders. In our experience, the threat of a lawsuit against USCIS does not have the same effect as an actual lawsuit. It is only the fact that the action gets filed that seems to force USCIS into action.
After the lawsuit is filed, we serve copies by certified mail on the head of the Department of Homeland Security (Janet Napolitano), the head of USCIS (Alejandro Mayorkas) and the district director for the immigration service. Once served, USCIS has 60 days to file a response. Typically, towards the end of the 60 day period, USCIS finally begins to move on your case.
You should know that these lawsuits are no guarantee that your case will be approved. USCIS may take action in your long-delayed case and deny the case, which can have very serious consequences. You need to consider this possibility when deciding whether or not to take the litigation route.
That being said, we have filed these lawsuits in cases where individuals were waiting for citizenship or lawful permanent resident status for 3, 5, 7, even 10 years or more. To date, our office has helped over 60 people get their citizenship or green card faster by going into court and seeking judicial help.
Want to learn more? Please check our immigration delay testimonials to read stories of the people that we have helped. To find out more about how St. Louis immigration attorney Jim Hacking may be able to help you with a lawsuit in your case, just contact us.