What’s Up Attorney?

Is USCIS sitting on your immigration petition? Sue the @#$%^&* with a mandamus action

You have filed your immigration petition for your beautiful beloved with USCIS, but USCIS has been sitting on it. Rival suitors are knocking at your beloved’s door, saying “Your balikbayan lover is a fake. He has not filed a petition for you. It has been a year and you still have no news about it. Let us go out and have fun.”

Your beloved sends you the above Facebook message. What are you going to do? You are getting desperate. You cannot control the events happening abroad. What if your beloved succumbs to the temptation to go out with other suitors. What if ….. Patay kang bata ka

Here is what you can do. First, follow up the petition with USCIS. Second, make an appointment on InfoPass to talk to an immigration officer in person. Write to your U.S. Senator or congressman to help find out the status of your petition? (Unfortunately in Hawaii, not one of them is a Republican, so your guess is as good as mine as to what weight they carry). All that USCIS says is that your petition is under process. 

There is a book called “Sue the Bastards” by Gerard P. Fox. It analyzes the pros and cons of suing those who do you harm. After reading it, you feel like Hamlet – “To be or not to be.” (To sue or not to sue). If you really love your so-called “beloved” (wife or fiancée) and want to protect your interest, damn the cost and the problems of suing, just sue the USCIS for sitting on your immigration petition by using a mandamus action.

The term “mandamus” is a Latin word “we command”. “It is a writ or order that is issued from a court of superior jurisdiction that commands an inferior tribunal or individual to perform, or refrain from performing, a particular act, the performance or omission of which is required by law as an obligation.” The Free Dictionary by Farlex.

JURISDICTION

Under 28 U.S.C. §1361 “The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any action in the nature of mandamus to compel an officer or employee of the United States or any agency thereof to perform a duty owed to the petitioner.”

This statute simply provides a forum for filing mandamus against an officer of the United States. However, it does not provide a legal ground for suing. The person suing, in this case the petitioner, must allege a legal basis for the suit and standing to bring it. 

The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq. provides a cause of action for the petitioner where the USCIS unreasonably delays the adjudication of a petition or application. “The APA requires federal administrative agencies to address matters presented to them within a reasonable time. 5 U.S.C. § 555(b) ("With due regard for the convenience and necessity of' the parties or their representatives and within a reasonable time, each agency shall proceed to conclude a matter presented to it. . . ."). The APA further states that federal courts "shall . . . compel agency action unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed. . . ." 5 U.S.C. § 706(1). Belegradek v. Gonzalez, 523 F. Supp. 2d 1364 (N.D. Georgia)

In Razaq v. Poulos, No. 06-2461-WDB, 2007 WL 61884, at *3 (N.D.Cal. Jan. 8, 2007), the court said: "We find that the USCIS has a mandatory duty to decide whether to grant or deny 1-130 Petitions. . . . While the substance of the decision whether to grant or deny a petition obviously is discretionary, the duty to process the application is just as obviously ministerial." Thus, while mandamus is available to compel a USCIS officer to act on a petition, it cannot compel the officer to act or decide in a particular way, that is, it cannot compel the officer to grant the petition.

WHAT CONSTITUTES UNREASONABLE DELAY

"[T]here is no bright line rule as to when a delay on an application slips into the realm of unreasonableness." Linville, 489 F.Supp.2d at 1282 (quoting Elmalky v. Upchurch, No. 3:06-CV-2359-B, 2007 WL 944330, at *6 (N.D.Tex. Mar. 28, 2007)). In determining whether the Attorney General unreasonably delayed in adjudicating an application to adjust immigration status, courts have applied a rule of reason, considering: (1) the source of the delay, (2) the complexity of the investigation, (3) whether any party participated in delaying the proceeding, (4) the nature and extent of the interests prejudiced by the delay, and (5) whether expediting action on agency activities will have an adverse affect on higher or competing priorities. See Linville, 489 F.Supp.2d at 1282-83; Razaq, 2007 WL 61884, at *6; Bartolini v. Ashcroft, 226 F.Supp.2d 350, 354 (D.Conn.2002).” Belegradek v. Gonzalez, 523 F.Supp. 2d 1364 (N.D. Georgia). 

ALLEGATIONS OF PETITION

Earlier this week, a Caucasian colleague asked us to assist in filing a petition for mandamus to compel USCIS to adjudicate an I-130 petition filed by an alien’s U.S. citizen spouse which had been pending in the USCIS for more than a year.

The petition has been filed alleging the following:

1. Introduction, nature, and purpose of the action.

2. Jurisdiction – U.S. District Court. See 28 U.S.C. § 1361 (mandamus statute), 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question), 28 U.S.C § 2201 (declaratory judgment).

3. Venue (where to file petition) – any judicial district where respondent resides, or where petitioner resides, or where a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred. 28 U.S.C § 1391(e). 

4. Parties – Petitioner is the person who filed the Visa Petition that has been unadjudicated. Respondents are: the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, the USCIS Director in Washington, D.C., the USCIS Director of the Service Center where petitioner filed the Visa Petition. Their office addresses should be provided.  

5. Cause of action and standing (a) clear legal right of the petitioner to the relief demanded, (b) clear legal and ministerial duty of the respondent to perform the act sought to be performed, See 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq. (Administrative Procedure Act), (c) exhaustion of all other remedies available, (d) absence of any other remedy available, except mandamus, (e) irreparable injury to petitioner because of respondent’s unreasonable failure to act and perform a duty owed to petitioner.   

6.  Claim for attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 2412.

7.  Prayer for relief – request court to order respondent to process petition or application, to furnish petitioner with a copy of the order granting or denying the visa petition, to order respondents to pay attorney’s fees and costs, to award such other relief as may be just and proper. 

8. Verification of petition by petitioner.

Summons on respondents. In addition to serving the petition on the above-named respondents, service of the summons should also be made on the Office of the General Counsel, Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 20258. 

Filing requirements. Petitioner or his Counsel must read the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the U.S. District Court local rules.

Filing fee. There is a filing fee. Petitioner or his Counsel should check the amount with the District Court where he intends to file the petition.

COMMENT AND SUGGESTION: In a previous case where a District Director unreasonably refused to adjudicate an application for adjustment of status, we prepared a complaint for mandamus, naming him as one of the respondents, and showed the complaint to him. He asked for a week to review the complaint. In less than a week, the adjustment of status was granted. However, do not try to bluff a District Director that you are going to file a complaint, unless you know him well and unless you have a copy of the complaint to show to him, the filing fee in your hand, and your attorney’s fees paid by the client.  

(Atty. Tipon has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School where he specialized in Constitutional Law. He has also a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He placed third in the Philippine Bar Examination in 1956. His current practice focuses on immigration law and criminal defense. He writes law books for the world’s largest law book publishing company and writes legal articles for newspapers. He has a radio show in Honolulu, Hawaii with his son Noel, senior partner of the Bilecki & Tipon law firm, where they discuss legal and political issues. Office: American Savings Bank Tower, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2305, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A. 96813. Tel. (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Website: www.bileckilawgroup.com. He was born in Laoag City, Philippines. He served as a U.S. Immigration Officer. He is co-author with former Judge Artemio S. Tipon of the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws” and co-author of “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. Atty. Tipon has personally experienced the entire immigration cycle by entering the United States on a non-immigrant working visa to write law books, adjusting his status to that of a lawful permanent resident, and becoming a naturalized United States citizen.)

 

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What if Hillary had won and issued a travel ban?

“Must a government be too strong for the liberties of its people or too weak to maintain its own existence?” – Abraham Lincoln

What if Hillary Clinton had won the presidency and had issued a travel ban against citizens of certain Muslim majority nations, what would the Democrats and their allies in the liberal, biased, pro-Democratic Party, media have said? Instead of jeers as their reaction to President Trump’s travel ban, they would be saying “cheers”. “She is strong on defense, strict on immigration.” It was the Obama administration that had identified the particular nations as potential sources of terrorists. Nobody would have sued her to stop the ban. It is the states where Hillary won that sued Trump – like Hawaii and Washington.
It is unfortunate that the protection of the American people, which President Trump promised during his campaign, has become politicized. Anything that President Trump does has been attacked. If he were to give a thousand dollars to everybody in the United States, he would be criticized: “Why not give a hundred thousand dollars.” And if he were to give a hundred thousand dollars, he would still be criticized: “Why not give a million dollars?”

FEDERAL JUDGES DIVIDED ON TRAVEL BAN
You might not read or hear about this in the liberal, biased, pro-Democratic Party, media, but federal judges are divided on the issue of the validity of the travel ban, which would suspend for 90 days the entry of nationals from six countries, which were pinpointed by the Obama administration, to enable consulates abroad to conduct extensive background checks.
On March 15, 2017, a federal judge in Hawaii, Derrick Watson, issued an order granting a motion for temporary restraining order enjoining President Trump and officers of the United States from enforcing or implementing Sections 2 and 6 of Executive Order across the Nation. The judge posed the issue thus: National security is unquestionably important to the public at large, but the plaintiffs and the public have a vested interest in the “free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in freedom from discrimination.” The question is: do the nationals of these 6 countries (and for that matter any country) have freedom to travel to America? Who gave them that right? If so, can citizens of the Philippines living abroad have freedom to travel to America? If their visa applications are denied, will the State of Hawaii sue on their behalf because they have “a vested interest in the free flow of travel”? Many Filipinos have been separated from their families living in the United States. Will the State of Hawaii also sue on their behalf to avoid separation of families?
On the other hand, on March 24, 2017, a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, Judge Anthony Trenga, refused to block President Trump’s revised executive order. Judge Trenga pointed out that the issue was not whether the order “is wise, necessary, under- or over-inclusive, or even fair” but whether the order “falls within the bounds of the President’s statutory authority or whether the President has exercised that authority in violation of constitutional restraints.” He noted that there is no “facially discriminatory order coupled with contemporaneous statements suggesting discriminatory intent.” The judge indicated that the court cannot conclude for the purposes of the motion that these statements, together with the President's past statements, have effectively disqualified him from exercising his lawful presidential authority." See https://www.docdroid.net/zXkmJ4O/sarsour-opinion.pdf.html
Judge Trenga said that “Congress has the exclusive constitutional authority to create immigration policies.” In exercising that authority, Congress has enacted Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act which provides:
“(f) Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”
Congress has already spoken in clear and certain terms. It vested upon the President the power and duty to “suspend” the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as “he may deem to be appropriate”. The law does not say, as “he may deem to be appropriate with the approval of the courts.” The President is the sole judge of when to “suspend” the entry of aliens. The law does not give the courts any say on this matter, otherwise Congress would have said so. Expresio unius, est exclusio alterius. (The express mention of one thing excludes all others). Judge Trenga said that “the President has unqualified authority to bar the physical entry to the United States at the border”.
Five U.S. Court of Appeals judges of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals who supported a rehearing en banc (by the full court) of the travel ban case (after a 3-judge panel refused to lift the injunction against the first travel ban) led by Judge Jay Bybee said that President Trump’s Executive Order of January 27, 2017, suspending the entry of certain aliens, “was authorized by statute, and presidents have frequently exercised that authority through executive orders and presidential proclamations. Whatever we, as individuals, may feel about the President or the Executive Order, the President’s decision was well within the powers of the presidency,” and “[t]he wisdom of the policy choices made by [the President] is not a matter for our consideration.” Judge Bybee emphasized that “The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty.” Judge Bybee pointed out that: "We are judges, not Platonic guardians. It is our duty to say what the law is, and the meta-source of our law, the U.S. Constitution, commits the power to make foreign policy, including the decision to permit or forbid entry into the United States, to the President and Congress."
http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2017/03/15/17-35105%20en%20banc.pdf?platform=hootsuite

MOTIVE OF LAWMAKER IS NOT A FACTOR IN JUDGING VALIDITY OF LAW
Judges against the travel ban claim that Trump was motivated by anti-Muslim sentiments in imposing the travel ban. They cite Trump’s campaign speeches. Trump clarified in his campaign speeches that what he meant was “extreme vetting” (background check).
The Hawaii judge in his order blocking President Trump’s Executive Order acknowledged that the Government appropriately cautioned that “courts should not look into the ‘veiled psyche’ and ‘secret motives’ of government decision makers and may not undertake a ‘judicial psychoanalysis of a drafter’s heart of hearts.’
The Virginia judge refused to psychoanalyze President Trump for his motives in issuing the travel ban.
If psychoanalyzing lawmakers was allowed, one could challenge the anti-dog eating laws of certain states as unconstitutionally motivated against ethnic origin and race by psychoanalyzing the legislators to unveil their “veiled psyche” and “secret motive” to discriminate against nationals of certain Asian countries.
OBSERVATION: In a letter to the editor of a Hawaii newspaper with Democratic leanings on 3/26/2016, the female writer said that Hawaii Judge Watson was a classmate of former President Obama and that Obama was coincidentally in Hawaii when the Judge issued his temporary restraining order (TRO). But in another letter to the editor of the same newspaper, the woman writer was quick to point out that there is no connection with the issuance of the TRO. As Hamlet’s mother remarked: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” Me says nobody is claiming that one plus one equals TRO.

(Atty. Tipon has a Master of Laws degree from Yale Law School where he specialized in Constitutional Law. He has also a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He placed third in the Philippine Bar Examination in 1956. His current practice focuses on immigration law and criminal defense. He writes law books for the world’s largest law book publishing company and writes legal articles for newspapers. He has a radio show in Honolulu, Hawaii with his son Noel, senior partner of the Bilecki & Tipon law firm, where they discuss legal and political issues. Office: American Savings Bank Tower, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 2305, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.A. 96813. Tel. (808) 225-2645. E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Website: www.bileckilawgroup.com. He was born in Laoag City, Philippines. He served as a U.S. Immigration Officer. He is co-author with former Judge Artemio S. Tipon of the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws” and co-author of “Immigration Law Service, 1st ed.,” an 8-volume practice guide for immigration officers and lawyers. Atty. Tipon has personally experienced the entire immigration cycle by entering the United States on a non-immigrant working visa to write law books, adjusting his status to that of a lawful permanent resident, and becoming a naturalized United States citizen.)

 

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What’s Up Attorney? Was Secretary Yasay telling the truth about U.S. citizenship? Or how to lose U.S. citizenship without really trying

“Less talk, less mistake; No talk, no mistake,” Genaro Magsaysay reportedly said when asked to talk about the issues while he was running for a Philippine Senate seat. He won.

The Commission on Appointments on March 8, rejected the ad interim appointment of Attorney Perfecto R. Yasay, Jr as Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs after he refused to answer a Commission member’s question to “categorically answer 'yes or no,' whether at one point in time in your life, were you ever an American citizen? Just a yes or no.” Yasay had replied: "I wish I could answer that question with a yes or no, but as directly as I could in answering that question, I have always admitted that I was granted US citizenship. That is my answer." "I was granted US citizenship on November 26, 1986, but it is my position that that grant of US citizenship at that time was void ab initio on the basis of the explanation I have stated in my affidavit.”
http://www.rappler.com/nation/163666-duterte-appoints-enrique-manalo-acting-foreign-secretary
Yasay reportedly said in a prior interview: “But at that time I was granted US citizenship, I had a “preconceived intent” of returning back to the Philippines.” He reportedly said that taking the oath of citizenship “does not make me a US citizen if precisely the basis upon which the grant of American citizenship is flawed and is defective." "I would not have and I did not acquire legally American citizenship. It is precisely for that reason that three months after, in January 1987, I returned back to the Philippines." "And this consolidated the position that I did not legally acquire US citizenship and I returned all of my papers, executed an affidavit, telling the American authorities that I did not qualify." He said that under American law, one is "disqualified for being an American citizenship" if at the time of application or granting, one had the "preconceived intent of abandoning your US residency and in fact you abandon your US residency within two years after obtaining that U.S. citizenship."
http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/03/06/17/yasay-i-did-not-acquire-us-citizenship-legally

The question remains - Was Mr. Yasay ever an American citizen from an objective, not subjective (or from his own), point of view? If he was, when did he cease to be one?
On November 24, 1986, Yasay took his oath as a United States citizen. On January 8, 1987, Yasay returned to the Philippines and “abandoned” his U.S. residency. On February 23, 1993, Yasay signed an affidavit that he had abandoned his residency in the United States in 1987, thereby becoming "ineligible" for U.S. citizenship. In March 1993, Yasay was appointed as an associate commissioner of the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). On June 28, 2016, Yasay renounced his American citizenship before an American consular official in Manila. On February 22, 2017, Yasay told the Commission on Appointments that his 1993 affidavit stating that he had abandoned his U.S. residency "nullified" his oath of allegiance to the U.S., thus he "did not acquire legal status as a U.S. citizen."
The question has arisen: why did Mr. Yasay have to formally renounce his U.S. citizenship before a U.S. consular official in Manila on June 28, 2016 if the grant of U.S. citizenship to him on November 24, 1986 was “void ab initio” because he had a “preconceived intent” of returning back to the Philippines?

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Marcos v. Robredo election protest – will it fly?

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – President John F. Kennedy, on why we should fly to the moon.On June 29, 2016, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos, Jr. filed an election protest against Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo, who was proclaimed the winner for the position of vice president of the Philippines in the May 9 election by a reported margin of 263,473 votes. This is considered a small margin by most observers. Robredo reportedly obtained 14,418,817 votes to Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.Marcos personally filed his protest with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) at the Supreme Court accompanied by hundreds of supporters. The petition consisted of more than 1,000 pages with about 20,000 pages of supporting documents. The Supreme Court is also the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.He questioned the results in 39,221 clustered precincts in 25 provincesand 5 cities, which involve about 9 million votes. He asked for the reopeningof the ballot boxes and a recounting of the ballots.The protest is based on three grounds: (1) defective vote counting machines; (2) traditional modes of election irregularities, like vote buying, intimidation, pre-shading of ballots, failure of elections, etc.; and (3) unauthorized introduction by an employee of Smartmatic (the vote counting machine provider) of a new “hash code” or script program into the transparency server of the system resulting in changes in the vote count. Marcos claimed that the votes presumptively obtained by

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