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  • Jennifer Moore

Unveiling the Mandamus Lawsuit: A Last Resort to Expedite USCIS Action


Navigating the United States immigration system can be lengthy and challenging, with many applicants waiting months or years for USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to adjudicate their applications. In cases where USCIS delays seem unreasonable or have resulted in severe consequences, filing a mandamus lawsuit can be a last resort option to compel USCIS to take action. In this blog, we will explore a mandamus lawsuit, when it may be appropriate, and the steps involved in pursuing this legal remedy.

Understanding the Mandamus Lawsuit

A mandamus lawsuit, also known as a writ of mandamus, is a legal action filed in federal court to compel a government agency, in this case, USCIS, to perform a non-discretionary duty. A non-discretionary duty refers to a clear, ministerial, and legally mandated obligation. When USCIS has unreasonably delayed processing an application or taking a required action, a mandamus lawsuit can prompt action.

When to Consider Filing a Mandamus Lawsuit

While the decision to file a mandamus lawsuit should not be taken lightly, there are situations where it may be appropriate:

  • Unreasonable Delays: If USCIS has unreasonably delayed processing your application, significantly exceeding the typical processing times and causing you harm, a mandamus lawsuit may be considered.

  • Failure to Act: If USCIS has failed to take the required action, such as scheduling an interview, making a decision, or responding to inquiries, and your case is in limbo, a mandamus lawsuit can be a way to prompt the agency to act.

  • Consequences of Delay: If the delay in USCIS action has severe consequences for you or your family, such as loss of employment, status, or other significant hardships, it may be worth exploring the mandamus option.

Steps in Filing a Mandamus Lawsuit

Filing a mandamus lawsuit is a complex legal process, and it is advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney. The steps involved include:

  • Consult with an Attorney: Before taking legal action, consult with an immigration attorney specializing in mandamus lawsuits. They will assess the merits of your case and help you determine if filing a lawsuit is appropriate. Attorney Moore is experienced in federal litigation and will evaluate your case for a potential mandamus complaint.

  • Draft the Complaint: Your attorney will draft a complaint outlining the specific facts of your case, the USCIS action you are seeking, and the legal basis for the mandamus petition.

  • File the Complaint: The complaint is filed in a federal district court with jurisdiction over your case. Your attorney will ensure the complaint is properly filed and served to USCIS.

  • USCIS Response: USCIS will be able to respond to the complaint, explaining its position and any reasons for the delay or inaction.

  • Discovery (if necessary): In some cases, discovery may be necessary to gather additional evidence or information related to the delay.

  • Hearing and Decision: The court may schedule a hearing to consider the arguments of both parties. If the court finds in your favor, it may issue an order compelling USCIS to take the required action within a specified timeframe.

  • Follow-Up: Once the court issues an order, your attorney will ensure USCIS complies with the court's decision and takes the necessary action.

A mandamus lawsuit is not a step to be taken lightly, as it involves litigation in federal court. It should only be pursued when other avenues of resolution have been exhausted and when there is clear evidence of unreasonable delay or failure to act by USCIS. Consultation with an experienced immigration attorney is essential to assess the merits of your case and guide you through this complex legal process. While filing a mandamus lawsuit can be a means to expedite USCIS action, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks and benefits before proceeding.

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