What is a Mandamus Lawsuit?
Many clients wonder if they can seek legal assistance and take action when their immigration cases are not being processed by USCIS or the consulate in a timely manner. Whether it is a long wait for a petition approval or you have been waiting for a decision on your interview for months, even years, you may have the option to file for a “writ of Mandamus” lawsuit against that government agency under The Mandamus Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
This type of lawsuit is to compel the government agency (USCIS, a consulate, foreign embassy, FBI department, etc.) to perform a duty owed to the plaintiff - in other words, to make a decision on your pending application. When a strong lawsuit is filed, the results tend to be very promising due to the Federal Courts ability to oblige USCIS (or any other government agency) to find a resolution to your application within a short period of time. Keep in mind that a decision will be settled, but it is not guaranteed to be in your favor. Though there is not a precise time to decide when to file for this lawsuit, to have the best results, we strongly encourage clients who have been waiting for over a year and a half outside of general processing times for their results, to file for a mandamus lawsuit.
Filing a lawsuit on your own against USCIS or a government agency may be daunting, however, with the correct legal support, the results can be effective.
Steps to filing a lawsuit:
Step 1: Before filing it is important to take preliminary action on your case by contacting your State Government office or Liaison for assistance. Submitting inquiries to the USCIS or consulate are essential steps before moving forward with a lawsuit. If no action is taken on your case with these steps, then a lawsuit is next. It’s important to collect proof of these inquiries for additional supporting evidence.
Step 2: Contact the local US attorney in the jurisdiction of your intention to file a lawsuit. If no resolution is found within 30 days, the next step is to file your writ of Mandamus lawsuit with supporting evidence.
Can the government retaliate against you for filing the lawsuit?
Many clients are hesitant by the idea of “filing a lawsuit” against any U.S. government agency. They fear that as a result of taking action against the agency, their application will be denied. However, it is the exact opposite of what happens. The reason USCIS unreasonably delays cases with no reason is due to the fact that no higher authority is overseeing their actions - until a lawsuit is taken place. By filing a lawsuit, a court with jurisdiction over the agency will take a closer look at the client's case and the agency's actions to resolve the issue. A lawsuit in fact helps keep the agency's actions aligned with their duty.