A writ of mandamus is a court order issued by a judge to any public official, government agency, or lower-level court within their jurisdiction. This order tells whoever it is issued against to do something they are already supposed to do by law, or else explain why they can’t do what they’re supposed to do. In the case of the immigration benefits and applications, the writ of mandamus is issued to force the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue a determination about your naturalization and residency status. Failure to comply with a writ of mandamus can potentially carry strict penalties for the offender, including fines, sanctions, or even potentially incarceration.
The way it works is the aggrieved party files a petition for the writ of mandamus with a federal district court judge. USCIS will be represented by an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA). The attorney-client relationship is key to success because sometimes a lawyer must tell its client what the right thing is to do. The AUSA must respond within 60 days (or 120 days with an extension, which the AUSA almost always requests). Once the AUSA has responded, or failed to respond, the judge can then issue the writ. Fortunately, however, it rarely gets that far, as USCIS usually adjudicates the matter before the deadline, making the writ application moot. The technique can be very effective in moving along a stalled case.
Thus, if you find yourself stuck waiting for a response from USCIS about your naturalization or residency, filing an application for a writ of mandamus can potentially speed up the process significantly. Do not let the bureaucracy of the immigration system get between you and the outcome you deserve. Call the immigration attorneys at Bretz & Coven and find out if you might make a good candidate for a writ of mandamus.
Here at Bretz & Coven, LLP, we have over 20 years filing mandamus requests with federal District Courts in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, compelling the USCIS to act on cases that have been delayed or stuck in the docket. In most cases, our immigration attorneys will get an adjudication within 120 days of filing. If you wish to request a mandamus or for more information, call (212) 267-2555 or visit Bretz & Coven, LLP