Recently a client of ours, let’s call him Muhammad H married a US citizen. His spouse filed the petition for alien relative (I-130) application on his behalf with the application for adjustment of status (I-485). She became pregnant and had child while the petition was pending. Soon his application was pending for over a year and it became obvious it was seriously delayed. The client had scheduled an infopass appointment and checked with his local congressman but received no response.
Worried that he may have filed the petition incorrectly he came to our office to inquire about what could be done. We discussed his case and reviewed a copy of his application. It seemed that he had filed it correctly and we didn’t see any obvious red flags. There appeared to be no obvious reason for the delay in adjudicating his petition.
We explained to him that his best option would be to file a writ of mandamus in federal court. Filing a mandamus requires a federal judge to review the application and requests they order immigration to adjudicate it within a reasonable time. Once the application is filed and properly served the government has 60 days to respond.
In this case the writ of mandamus was filed and served it on the government. Within 60 days we received a call from the US attorney’s office. They stated that they weren’t going to fight our mandamus and that our client’s interview has been scheduled. Muhammad H. and his wife attended the interview and notably the immigration officer was very professional at the interview and only had a few questions for Muhammad and his wife. Within 2 weeks we received the decision on their case in the mail. Filing the writ of mandamus put the client in control and now he can move on with his life without the worry of immigration hanging over his head. This made him very happy as at least it was one more thing he did not need to worry about.
Although this case involved a marriage based petition a writ of mandamus can be used in any I-130 petition for alien relative or I-485 adjustment of status application. Likewise a writ of mandamus can be filed for any delayed I-140 employment based application or a delayed N-400 application for naturalization. A mandamus can also be utilized in the asylum context or really in any type of proceeding where the government is causing a delay. The writ of mandamus is a powerful tool which can put you in charge of your immigration application.