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.