Numerous civil lawsuits concerning immigration have been filed against the federal government. The number of immigration-related cases filed in a single month in the federal civil courts in February 2023 was 943, the most ever. From October to February of FY 2023, the courts have received 4,175 total civil immigration filings. At this rate, the annual filing total is anticipated to surpass 10,000, setting a new record. Mandamus cases, or lawsuits that are often brought when the government fails to act on a range of immigration-related petitions, are the main cause of this increase in immigration lawsuits.
Writs of mandamus have gained in significance in recent years as a result of growing public attention to government delays, frequently caused by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), on a variety of immigration petitions and applications. More mandamus actions have been brought by lawyers to compel the government to act in their client’s cases. In fact, a class action lawsuit was brought against USCIS in January 2023 due to the agency’s delay in making decisions about waivers of unlawful presence that are required to become Lawful Permanent Residents.
Even USCIS admits that there are more delays now than there used to be. USCIS published a statement in March 2022 outlining the initiatives it intended to take to reduce backlogs. The global pandemic and recent under-resourcing at the agency, according to USCIS, are to blame for the current escalation of delays: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resource constraints resulting from the prior administration, USCIS inherited a significant number of pending cases and increased processing times.” The organization also posts processing times online.
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), which is renowned for collecting data & doing research to examine these records, reported on this uptick in July 2022 and stated that the number of immigration litigations surged more swiftly than anticipated. In reality, TRAC’s initial forecast of slightly over 6,000 immigration cases for FY 2022 was substantially outperformed by the 8,162 immigration cases that were actually submitted at the conclusion of the year. As a result, it is likely that future projections will be wrong once more.
This article, under no circumstances, acts as legal advice; therefore, for any immigration questions, please contact your Attorney or the Ahluwalia Law Offices, P.C. (Team ALO).