Immigration Delay Litigation

Solving Immigration Delays With Litigation

Sara & Mike

Sara met Mike while he was working abroad for his company. They hit it off instantly and continued their long-distance relationship even after Mike returned to the US.  After a short visit to see Sara’s parents, they got married. As the wife of a US citizen, they were confident that Sara’s visa would be approved quickly. They submitted all the required paperwork and paid all the fees.  There was no reason for the application to be denied. Sara was excited to move to the US and start a new life with Mike.

What should have taken a few months, turned into years. Sara and Mike repeatedly contacted the various government agencies involved in the process and even asked their Congressional representative for assistance. Unfortunately, nothing helped. No matter what they did, the application remained pending — neither denied nor approved — still being processed. After speaking with a lawyer, they decided to file a federal lawsuit against the government to force the government to make a decision.  Soon after filing the action, the application was approved. Sara was issued a visa to come to the US and start a family with Mike.   

Immigration visa applicants are usually unaware that they have the right to sue the government and compel decisions on long-delayed visa applications. 

The lawyers at Sarraf Gentile LLP use decades of federal litigation experience to represent individuals nationwide in these lawsuits.  

We believe in our skills and our clients’ cases.  Free initial consultations.  Flat fees.

The Problem:  Waiting Years for an Immigration Application Decision

The application process for many types of immigration benefits can be lengthy.

During the best of times, the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) can take months to adjudicate an application for citizenship or a visa.  In recent years, however, USCIS can take a few years to issue a decision.  Such delays have also become commonplace at other governmental agencies that handle visa applications, including the National Visa Center and US consulates worldwide.

These delays have real life consequences: children aging out of benefits; new employees unable to start jobs; marriages being prevented; trips abroad put off indefinitely; uncertainty about where to plant roots; etc.

While your immigration lawyer might correctly say that the application should have been decided by now, the immigration benefit you seek remains out of reach and the path forward is not clear. You can file complaints with the USCIS Ombudsman or write to your local Congressperson for their assistance, but neither of these approaches frequently produces satisfying results.

Unlike many other areas of administrative law, an exhaustion of remedies is not necessarily required here. You can file your case directly in federal court without appealing and ask a federal judge to compel the government to decide the application.

The Solution: Asking the Court to Compel an Immigration Application Decision

After waiting years for a decision on an immigration application, suing the government — to make them do what they’re supposed to do — may be the best path forward.  And while this may sound daunting, it’s a straightforward and low risk process with the right counsel.

Done properly, there are benefits to suing the government to compel an immigration decision.  Filing a new case that seeks immediate action on a pending application brings you an impartial judge. It also brings a fresh set of eyes for the government because these suits are defended by Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers who review and often inquire about the status of the pending application.

These federal lawsuits can be brought quickly and relatively inexpensively. That is because there is no discovery, no document production, no witnesses, no expensive expert testimony. Everything is decided on the material submitted as part of the application — what is referred to as the “administrative record.”

This litigation option uses the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and a Writ of Mandamus and applies to a wide variety of immigration applications that often go undecided for years. These include:

  • Family and Marriage based petitions
  • Pre-Interview N-400 naturalization petitions (for U.S. citizenship)
  • Adjustment of Status petitions
  • Numerous different types of both permanent and temporary employment or investment visas
  • Humanitarian based petitions
  • Various visa types pending at US Consulates worldwide

Some people are afraid of potential retaliation by USCIS or the government for suing them, but we are not aware of an instance where this has occurred. In fact, some attorneys have reported the opposite: better treatment for clients after they show a willingness to fight.

Simply getting a decision after years in limbo can be life changing.

We Can Help: Hire Sarraf Gentile LLP to Represent You

Free Initial Consultations: All initial consultations are free. Period.

Flat Fees: You will know what we charge upfront and what the case will cost to litigate. No surprise bills, no guessing.  That phone call to answer a question is not billed by the minute.

The Right Experience: The attorneys at Sarraf Gentile LLP are accomplished litigators. We have decades of complex litigation experience in federal courts nationwide.  Because we frequently represent clients who assist and collaborate with government agencies, we have a history of working closely and productively with the Department of Justice. This is the same agency that will likely defend USCIS in your case.

We’re Fearless:  We’re used to litigating high stakes, bet-the-farm issues. We’ve represented many people in difficult situations, especially when their livelihoods are on the line, against adversaries with nearly unlimited resources. We don’t get intimated. This is not our first rodeo.

We Listen: Many of our clients have become lifelong friends. Over time, our clients have taught us many valuable lessons. We know how important regular communication and updates are to helping us better represent clients and manage their stress levels. We have also learned that empathy isn’t just about being nice. Developing the ability to holistically see a client’s world through their eyes helps us develop better strategies to accomplish what’s best for them. Nothing matters more to us than being able to help those that trust us when they need us.

We Work Hard & Well With Others: Like most litigators, we’re good at fighting and don’t shy away from it. Less common, we value collaboration. For a variety of reasons, many of the cases we’ve handled over the years have been co-counseled with other law firms. We pride ourselves on our ability to work well as part of a larger team. We don’t let ego get in the way of providing the best possible service to our clients. This means that we will happily work with our client’s existing immigration counsel — both before & after filing a lawsuit — to ensure that we get the best result.