• Is the Immigration Service (USCIS) taking too long to process your case? You have the right to sue the Immigration Service for a prompt decision on your case, if it is taking too long to process it.
  • March 24, 2010
  • Law Firm: FitzGerald & Company, LLC - Boston Office

    One of the most difficult things about the legal process to immigrate to the U.S. is the waiting.  People have often felt powerless against the slow moving bureaucracy embedded within the immigration agency in the United States.  Fortunately, people are starting to learn that the law provides them with an option for protection from a wait which could otherwise be endless. The Administrative Procedures Act has a provision that says that if an immigration application has been pending for an unreasonable amount of time, then the applicant or the beneficiary of the application has a right to bring a legal action (“Writ of Mandamus”) against the immigration department (USCIS) and request that the court order the USCIS to make a decision on their case immediately.


    The number of individuals who have used this procedure has increased steadily over the last few years.  Routinely they have found that such lawsuits are the most effective means to obtain a resolution to their case and end the frustrating wait, which keeps many immigrants’ and their families’ lives on hold, delaying their access to the benefits of residency and ultimately citizenship.



    Who is eligible to sue the USCIS?


    Virtually anyone who has an immigration application pending and has been waiting for an unreasonable amount of time for an answer is eligible to sue the USCIS.  In general, some courts have found that waiting times that go months beyond the average processing time for a particular application, as recorded on the immigration website: www.uscis.gov/processingtimes/ ,  are considered unreasonable. 


    Are there any risks?


    The most common concern voiced by people considering suing the USCIS is whether or not their application will be at a higher risk of denial.  However, we have found this to be the contrary.  Our office was one of the first and is one of the most active immigration firms filing lawsuits against the USCIS in our jurisdiction, and our experience has revealed that the applications resulting in a legal action being filed receive a fair adjudication from the government with a lower incidence of error. 


    It is a good decision to take action now


    The decision as to when to file your lawsuit is a personal one and the timing may be different for everyone.  However, there are numerous benefits of having legal permanent residency in the US, such as the ability to apply for family members to come to the US, accruing time to apply for citizenship, and ease of travel and work.  The faster you commence this action, the faster the benefits of residency can be enjoyed. 


    In addition, there have been several bills filed in congress which would eliminate the right to sue the immigration service.  Therefore, individuals should take advantage of this privilege while it exists, as it is impossible to know what changes will be made to the law in the future and for how long this privilege will last.


    Where do I file my lawsuit?


    These lawsuits are filed with the US District court that has jurisdiction in the matter.  Important consideration must be given in deciding where to file your legal action as sometimes an individual may have the option of using more than one jurisdiction and some jurisdictions are far more favorable than others to these type of legal actions.  It is important that you have your case carefully reviewed by a lawyer specialized in USCIS lawsuits, in order to make an intelligent and practical decision. 


    FitzGerald & Company, LLC has experience successfully bringing these types of lawsuits in different jurisdictions and we provide an initial free consultation to review the feasibility of a case.  To schedule your free consultation, call 617-523-6320, or email us at:[email protected]  You may also obtain more information about filing a lawsuit against the immigration service and the required documentation, by visiting our the following page on our Web site: http://www.fitzgeraldlawcompany.com/immigration-lawsuit.html