MLF Attorney Teaches Fellow Lawyers in APA / Mandamus Webinar28 Mar 2014
On March 19th, Murthy Law Firm (MLF) attorney Brian Green presented a continuing legal education webinar on two immigration remedies that often are overlooked by less experienced practitioners: mandamus actions and suits filed under the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The event was sponsored by the Immigration Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, and was open to government and private-sector attorneys, as well as judges.
A mandamus action may be appropriate in cases where, for example, an application to adjust status (to that of a green card holder), or the adjudication of a visa application is delayed well beyond what is reasonable; it asks a federal court to compel the relevant government agency to complete an action that is legally required. APA lawsuits can be even more powerful and effective than mandamus actions, because they can be used to challenge a USCIS denial or decision, not just the agency’s unlawful failure to act. This provides an opportunity to contest the reasoning on which the agency’s decision was based.
Mr. Green says that, although mandamus is an extraordinary remedy, sometimes there’s no other choice, because justice delayed is justice denied. He noted that the Murthy Law Firm has filed and successfully resolved many such lawsuits in the past several years, in instances such as: serious delays in the adjudication of green card-related paperwork, I-485s and I-140s, or of applications for nonimmigrant visas – like H1Bs, visa applications stuck in “administrative processing” limbo, and naturalization cases held up by the agency’s refusal to schedule an N-400 interview.
In certain cases where a government agency is alleged to have acted improperly, Green says, APA suits may be especially useful. “In APA suits, it’s often a question of whether the agency’s decision was arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise contrary to law. For example: if the USCIS were to clearly ignore evidence submitted and wrongfully deny an immigration benefit on that basis, an APA-based challenge may be appropriate.”
According to Green, APA suits also may be appropriate when inaccurate factual findings or fraud determinations result in the denial of an immigration benefit, such as adjustment of status, an immigrant visa sought through the consular process, or an employment-based immigration petition such as an I-140. Likewise, an APA suit may be in order in nunc pro tunc matters, or when I-130 petitions and nonimmigrant visa applications are denied due to certain erroneous findings by the USCIS.
APA and mandamus actions are just two of the remedies that attorneys in MLF’s Special Projects Department can use to help clients who are facing especially difficult legal situations, of the kind that won’t yield to traditional approaches. Green’s webinar was in keeping with the longstanding traditions of the Murthy Law Firm: to offer clients custom-tailored legal counsel that’s carefully fitted to their individual circumstances, and to improve the practice of immigration law by educating other lawyers about cutting-edge legal solutions.
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