*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Delayed Asylum Decision – Would a Mandamus Lawsuit Be a Good Idea?

 

I’m Josh Goldstein. A lot of people know me because I file mandamus lawsuits to challenge visas that are delayed at consulates. That’s what I do as an immigration lawyer.

What about asylum applications?

But recently, I’ve been getting questions from people who are applying for asylum in the United States, people who have been waiting for a number of years to get a decision on asylum applications. And they said to me, “Hey, Josh. Can you use these mandamus lawsuits to challenge the delay that USCIS is giving me for my asylum case?”

A particular person who came to me was Syrian. And he had lived in the United States for a while. There were some problems in his home country. He filed an application for asylum. Meanwhile, four and a half years had gone by. And this guy hadn’t even gotten an interview yet. It was crazy. He had been waiting all this time for an interview and was super frustrated.

 

This is what I do

He was so frustrated that he wanted to hire me to file a lawsuit against USCIS to challenge the delay as unreasonable. This is what I do. If you don’t know me, I’m Josh Goldstein. I’m an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles. And I help people with all sorts of immigration cases.

I’m particularly good at challenging delayed immigration cases, any sort of delay that’s unreasonable, delayed green cards, delayed citizenships, delayed work permits, delayed asylum cases, delayed EB-5 petitions, I-526s. We do it all.

 

What’s a reasonable time?

But in this particular case, I want to tell you what I had to say to him because I think it may be helpful to you. USCIS and the State Department and consulates and all these immigration agencies have a mandatory legal obligation to give you a final decision on your application within a reasonable period of time.

Now, a reasonable person can disagree about what a reasonable period of time is. But nevertheless, if somebody has been waiting four and a half years for a decision on their asylum application and haven’t even gotten an interview, that’s completely absurd. And by filing the lawsuit, we can challenge this delay. We can get you an interview. We can get you a decision.

 

Why now is NOT a good time to file

But in his case, I told him not to do this. Let me explain to you why. The immigration agencies right now are run by Donald Trump. And they have an especially bad record with asylum cases. The Trump administration is categorically opposed to asylum. And asylum law is a complicated area of the law. It’s complex.

And when the Trump administration came around, they said, “Look, we are only against illegal immigration. We’re not against legal immigration. We want to do it the right way. But we’re against illegal immigration.”

But after several years in power, they’ve gone out and changed the immigration laws. They’ve created new regulations. They’ve created new precedent decisions. And they have severely restricted the rights of asylum seekers.

 

Why you should wait

We could do a whole series of videos about all the problems that they’ve caused asylum seekers. But the point is, if you have waited four and a half years for a decision on your asylum application, you should look at a calendar and you should know that we have a presidential election in November.

And there’s a possibility that Joe Biden might win the election. And if he wins the election, in January of 2021, Joe Biden will be the next president. And I think it’s fair to say that most people believe that Joe Biden will undo many of the restrictions on immigration that Trump has put into place.

If you’ve already waited four and a half years for a decision on your asylum application, what’s a couple more months? Don’t push it now. Do you really want to have Trump make a decision on your asylum application under the new restrictive rules that he’s put into place? Or would you rather hold out for a couple more months to see if we get a change of scenery in the White House?

That’s the advice that I gave him. I told him not to do a mandamus and not to push it forward. I certainly could file a mandamus lawsuit and I can challenge any delay, including asylum applications, but I didn’t think it was a good idea. It’s not a good idea. In a case like that, you should keep waiting.

 

No need to delay other types of applications

Now, if you have a naturalization application or a marriage-based green card or a visa that’s based on a fiance petition, that’s pretty clear cut. The law hasn’t changed much. There’s not a ton of discretion that the officers have the way they do with asylum cases. I think mandamus would be far more appropriate for those types of cases.

But for asylum, I think you should bide your time. I think that delay is your friend and you should keep waiting. I hope that’s helpful. If you have any questions at all, reach out to me. I would love to talk to you. I’d love to help you. Keep fighting for your immigration dreams and goals. Don’t get discouraged. Keep your hope up.

Josh Goldstein
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