MANDAMUS: WHAT TO THINK, WHAT TO EXPECT
Here is some advice if you are thinking about taking action like filing a writ of mandamus:
- Do not be afraid of “suing the government.” Think of suing as “demanding your rights.”
- Do not make a decision to sue based on frustration or impatience. You will lose.
- Talk to your lawyer. Do not hide anything. Everything you tell your lawyer is protected by attorney-client privilege and cannot be shared by the attorney to anyone else. If you do not tell your lawyer the whole story, he will not be able to help you.
- If your lawyer doesn’t seem interested in going through your entire immigration history, find a different lawyer.
- List all the equities in your case. What makes your wait so unbearable?
- Where you come from can make a difference. People from Muslim countries are frequent victims of the CARRP program. Nationals of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) also experience higher than normal scrutiny and delays on applications for green cards (I-485) and citizenship (N-400).
- If you are outside the normal processing time but it hasn’t really been that long, start creating a paper trail. Every time you contact CIS to follow up, make sure you get something in writing. Keep copies of all letters you send, and send them by certified mail, return receipt requested. If enough time passes, enlist the help of your local US Congressman, or the CIS Ombudsman’s Office. When you make an InfoPass appointment, keep another copy of the appointment sheet. If the time comes that you do need to file a writ of mandamus, you will have to show “exhaustion of administrative remedies.” This means you have to show the judge that you tried to resolve this issue in many different ways before you came to court.
- Do not file a writ of mandamus by yourself. At least consult with an attorney beforehand.
- Do not copy and paste various writs of mandamus “samples” that are available on the Net.
- Make sure you and your attorney have reviewed the latest writ of mandamus cases in your jurisdiction to see how courts are treating them. One good website to visit is the American Immigration Council’s litigation clearinghouse page on mandamus.
- Mandamus is not necessarily a “quick fix” so do not expect quick results
Learn about how a writ of mandamus works.