Unreasonable Delay for Citizenship in DC

Unreasonable Delay for Citizenship in DC

The process for obtaining citizenship can be lengthy. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a backlog in deciding all types of applications, which often causes processing delays for those seeking citizenship. It could take months or years for it to take any action on an application or petition.

However, sometimes people have delays that are longer than usual. To handle the situation as effectively as possible, contact a diligent immigration attorney at Benach & Collopy. Our team is experienced with the laws surrounding immigration delays and can offer various strategies for handling an unreasonable delay for citizenship in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia as well as the rest of the U.S.

Causes of Processing Delays

While the USCIS oversees the naturalization process, it requires input from  several other federal agencies. When there is an issue with any of those agencies, it may result in an unreasonable delay in deciding a citizenship application. Neither those agencies, nor the USCIS reach out to applicants to inform them of the reasons for the delay. Instead, the application may be stuck in limbo.

One of the first things an attorney will do is review the client’s application and immigration history to attempt to discover a potential cause of the delay.  An attorney will analyze whether the application appears to be approvable and whether additional evidence will be need for a favorable outcome.

The USCIS provides various online tools for people to make inquiries about delayed applications.  The truth is that these tools are entirely ineffective.  They do not provide useful or timely information.  At Benach Collopy, we do not waste a client’s resources on these tools.  In addition, Congressional assistance is usually ineffective as well.  Unless a Member of Congress really cares and gets involved, a Member’s office will write a letter inquiring about the case and the CIS will write back explaining that they are really super busy.  Everyone, except the delayed applicant, will feel that the matter of the delay has been addressed.

Potential Remedies for Handling a Delay

The only truly effective means of relief for a delay is to file a lawsuit in federal court asking a U.S. District Court Judge to order the USCIS to decide the application.  The law provides two distinct legal actions that lawyers may bring in court  to compel the USCIS to process the application.

The first is called a writ of mandamus.  Mandamus is Latin for “government official, do your job!”  By asking a court to issue a writ of mandamus, an applicant is asking the court to determine that the government is required to decide a properly filed application for citizenship and that such decision has been unreasonably delayed.  A mandamus action is filed in U.S. District Court, generally, where the application should be decided.  Once a lawsuit has been filed, the government must respond to the court about the delay and its plans to address it. Very often, rather than contest the lawsuit, the government will agree to decide the application in a certain period of time. And, if they fail to do so, they have to answer to a federal judge!

A second option is to file an action known as a 1447(b) lawsuit.  Section 1447(b) of the Immigration Act gives applicants a right to sue the USCIS in federal court if 120 days have passed since the interview.  In a 1447(b) case, the applicant need not show that delay is unreasonable, just that it has been more than 120 days from the interview.  These actions often result in a decision promptly.

It is important to recall that these lawsuits are not lawsuits asking the government to approve a naturalization application but rather to decide the citizenship application.  This is why it is essential for the attorney to review the application thoroughly prior to filing any lawsuit.

A lawsuit will get a decision.  Work with Benach Collopy’s DC area attorneys to make sure that it is an approval.

Get Information on Unreasonable Delays in Citizenship Applications From Our DC Team

Since the citizenship process is lengthy, applicants know to expect delays. However, when the application seems to be taking longer than average, a Benach Collopy attorney may be able to help by reviewing the facts and advising you on the pros and cons of filing a lawsuit ands what you can expect. Contact our team to find out more about unreasonable delays for citizenship in DC.

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