What’s the difference between threatening to sue and actually suing USCIS?
Hi. I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
Delay, delay, delay; that’s what we’ve been hearing more and more from our clients, from our potential clients, and it’s what we’ve been seeing here in our office when it comes to USCIS and their processing of immigration cases.
When we have those scenarios, people often ask us, “Jim, can you send a letter to USCIS threatening to sue them?” Here’s the answer to that question; heck no. I gave up writing threatening letters a long time ago. The reason that we don’t send threatening letters is because nobody feels your threat. The only thing that actually makes things move is actually suing them.
Now, some people will tell you that they’ve had success with writing a threatening letter and that may or may not be true, but it’s the exception, not the norm.
The fact of the matter is that if USCIS is going to ignore your InfoPass appointments, if they’re going to ignore your phone calls, if they’re going to ignore your service request, if they’re going to ignore members of Congress, then a threatening letter from a non-lawyer, or even from a lawyer, doesn’t carry much weight.
The reason for that is that they are simply overwhelmed and they have too much work to do, and they’re not going to turn their attention to an issue unless, and until they actually have a deadline in federal court.
When we sue them, we mail them a copy of the lawsuit. And once they receive it, a 60 day clock starts ticking. There’s a US attorney assigned to it, and that US attorney has to run it up the chain of command, have USCIS look at the case, and that’s what actually gets things moving.
If there’s nothing wrong with your case, if they’re just sitting on it, that’s going to get your case moving pretty quickly.
And so sending a threatening letter, number one is who do you send it to? Who do you send a threatening letter to? Do you send it to the US attorneys?
Well, they’re not going to listen or pay attention until there’s an actual lawsuit on file. Do you send it to the National Benefit Center? Well, they’re overwhelmed, and it’s going to be very unlikely that your threatening letter even reaches the person who’s handling your case. You can’t really even send it to the local field office because your case might not be there yet.
So sending a threatening letter is a waste of time. It may work every now and then. Most lawyers who say that they just want to send the threatening letter it’s because they don’t know how to file a lawsuit, they haven’t filed a lawsuit.
And in our experience now having sued them well over 500 times, the only thing that gets their attention is actually paying the $400 and uploading the lawsuit to the federal court electronic filing system and getting a case number. And with that case number comes a deadline, and that’s what’s going to get your case moving.
We don’t send threatening letters. We don’t ever send threatening letters. It’s for the most part, a complete waste of time, unless you’ve sued them so many times that you then have open lines of communication.
So now every now and then we will send a threatening letter, but only if it’s here in St. Louis or with a US attorney that we know that we can actually get things moving without a lawsuit. But for the most part, we’re not going to do it. It’s a waste of time. It’s wasting your money and we’re just going to encourage you to actually file the lawsuit.
If you have questions about a case that’s been delayed at the State Department or at USCIS, give us a call, (314) 961-8200.
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