How can a lawsuit help make my immigration case go faster? Hi, I’m the immigration attorney, Jim Hacking practicing along here in Saint Louis, Missouri. We have a lot of people who come to our office complaining about delays of the immigration service. A lot of delays are natural and part of the process. Most cases do take a fair amount of time to process whether they’d be naturalization cases or green card cases or overseas visa cases.
A lot of times, you just have to wait and to comply with the immigration service’s request. A lot of times the delays are called by request for evidence which are times where the immigration’s service asked for additional documentation and supported the case. We’ve seen more and more of these requests for evidence or RFE’s be issued. We think that there are some people at the immigration service who feel that they have to RFE cases multiple times in order to make sure that every “T” is crossed and every “I” is dotted. A lot of these RFE’s are ridiculous, but we do everything we can to comply with them.
The delays I’m talking about though for the purposes of this video are delays where cases are way outside the processing times. The law requires that the immigration service and of the state department adjudicate this immigrant cases in a reasonable amount of time. Sometimes, we’ve seen delays with three, four, five years. We’ve seen cases languish in delay and the reason for that, I think a lot of times is the fact that the immigration service or the state department sometimes don’t know what they want to do with the case.
They don’t particularly like the fact for the case, they’d like to deny the case but they don’t feel they have enough to do an outright denial. What they do is they just put the case up on the shelf and they hope that the person will just continue waiting. We’re getting ready to file suit against the state department now for a spouse visa case that’s been sitting in Islamabad, Pakistan for the last four years.
Like I said, the law requires that any administrative agency including the immigration service or state department who adjudicate cases in a reasonable amount of time and that will be our position in that lawsuit that waiting four years for your spouse to come to the United States is non-reasonable. US citizens and green card holders have the right to do process and everybody has the right to have their immigration case decided. It’s not the guarantee that the case will be approved, it’s rather that the agencies are not to be allowed to just sit around and not decide cases.
They can choose which way to act but they can’t choose to refuse the act and that’s what the purpose of the lawsuit is. A lot of people are trying different things to try to move their case along. Some people file complains with their senator or congress person. Some people making info pass appointments, some people waste their time calling the 1-800 number. In our experience, these measures don’t work that they’re just attempt by the agencies to act as if they’re listening to you. We’ve never really had much success and the people who come to see us haven’t had much success with info pass or with calls or even with congressional involvement.
A lot of times, what the immigration service will do or the state department will do is they’ll say, “Thank you for notifying us of the problem. We’ll look into it.” Then they wait about a month and they write back, “We looked into it. The case is still under administrative review.” There’s nothing to see here, please move along and just expect the senator or the congress person or the applicant to just continue waiting.
The only thing that works in our experience is to file suit. We use to threaten to file suit before they filed suit but we found that the threats though too don’t really amount too much. We have the State Department in this particular case a little bit more time to see if they can decide the case but I anticipate we will be filing suit like we have all the other times. We’ve had a great success right now in these naturalization delays and to some extent, on green card delays.
The courts are in place for us to assert our rights, the immigration service does not particularly like to defend themselves in front of a federal judge who is unelected and who has no allegiance in the immigration service and it’s our experience that the federal courts give an open year to leaving into and waiting a long time and that a lot of times, just the fact that filing suit will note your case along and will get the attention of the higher ups so that the case gets decided.
If you’ve been waiting to have one of your immigration cases decided, we feel sorry for you and we’d really like to talk to you about filing suit about moving forward in litigating your rights to protect yourself and to make sure that the delay does not continue on and on and on. If you are experiencing delays of the immigration service, if you’ve done everything that you can, if you filed for info pass, if you’ve called the 1-800 number, if you’ve done everything that you can, I want you to pick up that phone and call us, 314-961-8200 or you can email me at [email protected] Thanks.