Alcorn Immigration Law is experienced with filing Writ of Mandamus petitions in federal court to compel USCIS to decide a case.
A Writ of Mandamus is a lawsuit filed against a government agency that asks a federal court to force the agency to fulfill its mandated duties. Basically, that means you sue the government to make sure that it does its duty of deciding your immigration case.
We offer filing a Writ of Mandamus to compel U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to make a decision on an immigration application as a service. This usually happens for long-pending adjustment of status (I-485) or citizenship (N-400) cases.
The law requires USCIS to make a final decision on all immigration applications within a reasonable time. Under a Writ of Mandamus, a judge can order USCIS to make a decision. However, a judge cannot order USCIS to specifically approve or deny your application.
No time limit exists for USCIS to make a decision on a Form I-485 Adjustment of Status to permanent resident (green card). However, the courts have generally said that a delay of more than two years is unreasonable.
Previously, the same applied to citizenship petitions. However, as of the time of this writing, a growing backlog of N-400 citizenship petitions since 2016 means a processing time of two years is fast becoming the norm. In some areas, immigrants are waiting more than 20 months for a decision on their citizenship application.
When Should I Sue the Government?
Discuss with an immigration attorney whether to sue the government for a decision on a long-pending N-400 or I-485. Consider suing the government as a last resort if:
- Your case status says “background check pending.”
- You’ve done scheduled and met with a USCIS officer, and USCIS can’t do anything to help you.
- You’ve contacted your congressional representatives, and they are unable to help you.
- You need to quickly sponsor your parent or spouse for a green card due to health issues or humanitarian concerns.
Whatever route you decide to take, make sure to have a trusted immigration attorney at your side.
What to Expect
Writs of Mandamus often prompt USCIS to decide a matter even before a judge sees your complaint. That’s because it’s in the government’s interest to resolve the matter.
If a case goes to court, and the judge compels the government agency to take action, you can ask the judge to also compel the government to pay for expenses and attorney fees.