Federal Court Litigation
You may find yourself in a variety of situations where federal litigation is warranted. Has USCIS refused to interview you for your green card? Are you detained and believe that Immigration and Customs Enfrorcement (ICE) has held you for an excessive period of time? Did you lose an appeal at the Board of Immigration Appeals? In all of these situations (and many more), federal litigation may be your only method of obtaining relief.
A mandamus action is a lawsuit that asks a district court to compel USCIS (or another agency) to act on a matter that is not discretionary. In other words, if an agency has a legal duty to make a decision on your case and fails to do in a reasonable period, then a federal court may order the agency to act.
In order to bring such a claim, you must normally exhaust administrative remedies. Note that a mandamus action does not mean your case will be approved. Rather, a mandamus action, if successful, will only lead to the agency adjudicating your application or petition. The result could be favorable or not. Often, merely filing such an action will result in the agency acting and cases may often be settled without ever setting a foot into court.
A fundamental Constitutional right, habeas corpus is a remedy that a citizen or noncitizeen may use to protect his freedom against arbitary and unlawful detention. In the immigration context, habeas corpus is typically used to force ICE to release you (or a loved one) from administrative detention. Physical detention, however, is not a requirement to file a petition since any restriction on a person's liberty can satisfy the "in custody" requirement. Such actions are brought in the jurisdiction where the petitioner is being detained. Note that ICE has increasingly moved people in detention out of favorable federal circuits and into circuits that have less favorable case law. Thus, fast action may be necessary to ensure that you can use this remedy.
Petition for Review
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, you may file a petition to review (also known as an appeal) of a removal order issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals. You have 30 days to file the petition. However, that deadline may be equitably tolled in certain situations. Once you file a petition for review, you may qualify to have your removal stayed by the federal circuit court (either automatically or upon filing a motion for stay).
If you find yourself having lost at the Board of Immigration Appeals (or if you win at the Board, but DHS appeals), then you must act quickly to secure our rights and defend yourself against deportation. Contact us today to discuss your options.