If you have been waiting for USCIS take action on an application or petition, you DO have some options. One of the best options is to file a lawsuit in U.S. federal court requesting what is called a "Writ of Mandamus." A "Writ" is just a fancy old-English word basically meaning an "Order from a Judge." Obtaining a Writ of Mandamus can help unblock your immigration case and expedite a decision from the immigration services. Here is a brief explanation and some reasons not to fear insisting upon your rights.
Take Action Without Fear
Many foreign nationals with pending immigration cases fear that the U.S. immigration services will retaliate against them for filing a mandamus. However, filing a case in front of a federal judge eliminates that problem. Once you file a lawsuit asking for a Writ of Mandamus, your case is now being supervised by a federal court judge. In the U.S. system, a federal court judge is "higher" than immigration officials. Further, sometimes the problem with immigration services is a lack of staffing and too many applications. In other words, delays and lack of action are not personal or malicious; the officials are just too busy. Filing a lawsuit asking for a Writ of Mandamus can actually be helpful in the sense that immigration officials have a legitimate reason to put your case "at the top of the pile." In other words, the immigration officials might be "happy" to receive an order from the federal court judge.
What is a Writ of Mandamus?
As noted, a Writ of Mandamus is an order issued by a federal judge. These types of Orders are allowed by a federal law called the U.S. Mandamus Act. 28 U.S.C. §1361. The law allows federal judges to issue an Order -- the Writ -- that commands the immigration services to take certain actions -- such as completing the processing of an immigration application or petition. A lawsuit asking for a Writ of Mandamus will be directed to the specific agency handling your case. These can include:
- A consular office
- The USCIS
- Asylum Office
- The Department of Homeland Security
- The State Department
The core idea is that federal courts have the ability to order any federal agency to perform its duties as required by law. Importantly, however, the power to order a federal agency to perform its duty is NOT the same as ordering the federal agency to come to any particular decision. In other words, a Writ of Mandamus cannot be used to order the immigration services to APPROVE an application or petition. The Writ only orders the immigration services to process the application.
Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today
For more information and questions about seeking a Writ of Mandamus, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone, and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.