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Statutes of Liberty: Sick of delays in your immigration case? Sue!

This sponsored column is by Law Office of James Montana PLLC. All questions about it should be directed to James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq., and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at The Law Office of James Montana PLLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Falls Church, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact us for an appointment.

One of the chief complaints we hear as immigration lawyers is that immigration processes take forever.

U.S. citizens who file a petition on behalf of their spouses are taking at least a year in most places. Many employment-based green card applicants are waiting at least two years to receive their green cards. And asylum? The average wait time for an interview in the D.C. area is about five years. Trust us; we hate it, too.

However, if you’re tired of waiting for a decision, there is a solution. Sue the government in federal court! Here’s the deal:

In many types of immigration cases, a statute or regulation dictates that the immigration authorities must make a decision on application within a certain period of time.  For example, Congress specifically stated in the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 that petitions for juveniles that have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents, must be adjudicated within 180 days.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, or APA, Congress created the ability to sue an agency for failing to act when the agency is required to act, or when the action is unreasonably delayed or unlawfully withheld. A good example of a decision unlawfully withheld is a special immigrant juvenile petition that must be adjudicated in 180 days. However, you can also file an APA lawsuit regarding discretionary applications, like green card applications. Just because the immigration authorities have the discretion to approve or deny an application, it does not mean that the authorities can sit on the case forever.

Additionally, under the Mandamus Act, a lawsuit can be filed to compel an agency to act. In these cases, the plaintiff, or the person suing the agency, must show that (1) she has a clear right to the relief requested; (2) the agency has a clear duty to perform; and (3) there is no other adequate remedy available.

An important note: The goal of the lawsuit is to receive a decision, whether negative or positive. It is not to compel an approval. The only thing the judge can do is order the agency to take action in the pending immigration matter.

In the majority of cases, these lawsuits do not go all the way to a full trial. Usually, the government does not want to deal with the lawsuit, and instead will make a decision on the application or petition so that the case can be dismissed.

If you are tired of waiting around for USCIS, the Department of Labor, or the Department of State to make a decision in your case, we recommend that you speak with an experienced immigration attorney that handles these types of cases in federal court. Picking the right federal court in which to sue can be very tricky, and each court (and sometimes each judge) has their own specific rules that you must follow or else you risk having your case rejected. You also have to provide a copy of your complaint to many different offices, and failure to do so can also result in the case being dismissed.

As always, we welcome questions and comments. We’ll answer all we can!

Recent Stories

Good Tuesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

James Yoo, 56, is presumed dead as a result of the explosion of the duplex at 844 N. Burlington Street, in the Bluemont neighborhood, Arlington County police confirmed during a news conference this afternoon.

A land-use study teeing up an affordable housing redevelopment project in Aurora Highlands has generated significant interest as it nears completion.

Booeymonger in Ballston will be replaced by a new full-service Nepalese restaurant this spring, according to the incoming tenant.

About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.

Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.

Key Responsibilities:

Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.

Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.

Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.

Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Holiday Art Show

Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to

Live Standup Comedy Starring Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel Live,…

Standup Comedy Starring Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central, Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Friday, December 29

Headliner: Casey James Salengo

Casey James Salengo is a NYC-based comedian who’s been featured on Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel Live, This Week at the Cellar,


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