Avoiding Another Missed Father’s Day

[Also available on LinkedIn.]

With another Father’s Day behind us, it’s a good opportunity to consider its meaning for the countless fathers waiting abroad for their visa applications to be decided while stuck in consular processing, preventing them from coming to the U.S. and reuniting with their families.

Unfortunately, this is no made-up hypothetical. In fact, our firm is representing a married couple with young children, whose father is stuck abroad while his visa application is pending.

Our clients have made various formal and informal requests over the years to expedite this process to no avail. Having exhausted every way of getting the government to decide their visa application – and having missed another Father’s Day – we have been hired to represent them in federal court.

We are suing the Government using a writ of Mandamus and under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to ask a federal judge to compel the Departments of State and Homeland Security (including the National Visa Center and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), among others, to do their jobs – decide the long pending application and reunite this family.

Waiting years to have a visa application decided is unfortunately all too common. These delays cause families to lose time together that can never be recaptured. Sometimes, the only way to cut the wait short is with federal litigation.

The immigration agencies, once faced with the prospect of a federal judge potentially ordering them to do their jobs, will often then decide to adjudicate the pending visa application. Lawyers can add a little extra pressure by asking the court to award attorneys’ fees in the event the government seeks to push back and defend their “right” to ignore visa applications. With any luck, applications that have been pending for years are decided within weeks.

If these cases do their job, they can prevent families from missing yet another Father’s Day together. That’s a result worth fighting for.