USCIS was able to close my lawsuit with a "Motion to remand", then denied my naturalization application

Bubliksha

New Member
USCIS would not make a decision after my n-400 interview, so I filed (pro se) a lawsuit according to the instructions I found in this forum.
Then what happened was that USCIS responded at the last minute of the 60 days with a "Motion to remand", which the judge then immediately accepted without a hearing. So the lawsuit was immediately closed by the judge, and the application was returned back to USCIS with an order to decide it within X days.
Then the next day USCIS denied the application (I don't know what their reason is yet, but it must be some very creative pretext).

In my understanding, in most cases when USCIS hold an application undecided for a very long time, it happens not due to some innocent bureaucratic confusion, but because they just do not want to approve this specific case for some reason, but they realize that it's hard for them to come up with a legal excuse, so they sit on the case forever, until they are forced to decide it by a lawsuit (and deny the application, if they legally can).

If I understand it correctly, the point in filing the lawsuit was not only to force USCIS to finally make "any" decision, but to have some pressure on USCIS to approve the application, in order to avoid the trial, "which will expose the criminal methods of the USCIS".

But with what happened to me, it looks like this strategy is weak. USCIS can always come up with a "motion to remand", and the lazy judge who does not want to decide the case by themselves, will remand it to USCIS, and then USCIS will deny it.

USCIS is not afraid anymore of lawsuits that request that specific secret USCIS policies will be declared illegal. The judges just learned to reject all those requests with sophisticated legal verbiage.

USCIS can exhaust many people it considers "undesirable" this way, because not everyone can afford the money and time to play their games.
Only the applicant can lose. USCIS never lose, for them at worst it's a draw.

Would a lawyer be able to somehow get a better outcome in my lawsuit? Or would I end up with the same result plus out of thousands of dollars as legal fees?

What can I do now? I know that if I file an appeal (n-336), it's money and time. And USCIS will reject it since their secret decision in my case is to reject it as long as they legally can.

Is it still possible for me to save the lawsuit that I filed, which was closed within 3 seconds by the judge when they accepted the "Motion to remand"?
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
This is a totally non professional opinion, but my understanding is a lawsuit compelling uscis to make a decision is always risky because if they feel they do not have all the facts they need to approve but have to make a decision, the only thing they can do is deny. On the face of it this seems to be what happened with your case. How long after your N400 interview did you take this lawsuit action? Do you have any idea what the hold up in the decision might have been? Sometimes it’s easier or better to file a new n400 rather than appeal but it depends on what the problem with the initial application is. What did they give as the reason for denial?
 

Bubliksha

New Member
Well, one thing I was able to do with the lawsuit was to force USCIS to show their hand. I wanted them to show if they were playing a game with me or not? So now I know that they were playing with me. They had no intention to approve. I would have lost more by just letting them play this game yet another year.

I was waiting for the interview 3 years. And I waited a year after the interview before I sued.

From many immigration lawyers I spoke with or read, I understand that if it looks like the process takes too long, then the only way to get something moving is to sue. I think this is true. Had I not sued, I could have waited forever for their decision. And at some point I would have to decide if I want to try to extend the green card, or just leave the US. I imagine that even trying to extend the green card would be quite "infinite", which would get me into a double trouble.

In the year after the interview, while I've been naively waiting for a decision, USCIS always responded to my inquiries with "we are waiting for the security check". Now, you should not take them at their word.

Immigration lawyers often think that the "security checks" excuse is a bad sign for the approval of the applications. Regardless if USCIS already has the results of the FBI security checks, or not yet — either way it means that they consider you to be a "security risk", or "might be security risk", but they don't have actual legal evidence, so their protocol in this case is to sit on the case forever until forced to show their hand by a lawsuit. And then they try to deny the application with every excuse imaginable.

Wow, another n-400? The filing fee is money, but small potatoes comparing with all the other consequences of going again through an application that the "intelligence" agencies already know that they want to reject. I don't think I could mentally, emotionally and financially afford this roller coaster another year, let alone 4, 5, 10 more years. I am already having PTSD over this situation. I need to travel abroad for my work and because of family situation, and the constant limit on staying abroad is just too hard on all levels.

I don't know yet what reason they would give for the denial. I am waiting for the actual letter. It won't help me much, but I am curious how shameless they could be. But I do know that it would be a very lame excuse. It's not a "technical" problem with the application forms (I've even shown them to several lawyers and they all said they look perfect). I never broke the law. Legally my life is very boring.... I always paid taxes when I had an income. Maybe they used the fact that I stayed a few days over 180 days abroad (although AFTER I already applied for citizenship), because I was in a country that shut down the airports due to COVID — and they know that.
 

SusieQQQ

Well-Known Member
Maybe they used the fact that I stayed a few days over 180 days abroad (although AFTER I already applied for citizenship), because I was in a country that shut down the airports due to COVID
After you applied does not matter - the continuous residence requirement has to be met all the way until you actually become a citizen. Did you take proof to the interview to rebut the presumption of broken residence? The onus is on you for this, so if you didn’t have that then this could well be the reason. If this is the denial reason, I don’t understand why it would have taken so long to make a decision, but at least you will understand the best way forward.
If it is indeed a security check issue, that is something different entirely.
 

Fin

Registered Users (C)
In my understanding, in most cases when USCIS hold an application undecided for a very long time, it happens not due to some innocent bureaucratic confusion, but because they just do not want to approve this specific case for some reason, but they realize that it's hard for them to come up with a legal excuse, so they sit on the case forever, until they are forced to decide it by a lawsuit (and deny the application, if they legally can).

If I understand it correctly, the point in filing the lawsuit was not only to force USCIS to finally make "any" decision, but to have some pressure on USCIS to approve the application, in order to avoid the trial, "which will expose the criminal methods of the USCIS".
OP - I think you may have misinterpreted the purpose of the lawsuit. You may want to read up on 8 USC 1447(b) under which you filed the lawsuit. There is nothing in the section that forces USCIS or the judge to approve your application, it is merely to get a decision on your application if it is delayed 120 days beyond the interview. This could happen either via a court ordered remand with a deadline for USCIS to adjudicate or a judge holding the actual hearing or granting a motion for summary judgment. Your lawsuit was 100% successful although you don’t like the result.

I have myself filed the lawsuit and I always advise everyone to look and think deeply about any skeletons in the closet before filing a 1447b or mandamus lawsuit, especially pro se. If USCIS delays the interview in an out of the ordinary manner, where rest of the people in your local office gets an interview but yours is delayed, in many cases it means that your file is lost or your case got stuck in a security issue or is under extended review. In such cases it’s always a good idea to take a lawyer with you to the interview. Is there anything that came up in the interview or is there anything in your background which is not clean? Only you know the answer to these questions. There is still hope. Unless they start removal proceedings to revoke your GC, you can still appeal your denial before the USCIS by filing N-336 and if it’s denied again you can seek judicial review before the district court under 8 USC 1421. I suggest you wait for the actual denial letter and seek legal counsel from a lawyer that specializes in citizenship denial lawsuits and appeals. Also - if you don’t file N-336 within 30 days, you lose the right to appeal under 1421
 
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Mishomasr

Active Member
that’s what happens when you file a lawsuit against USCIS! If you play with fire don’t cry when you get burnt
 

Fin

Registered Users (C)
that’s what happens when you file a lawsuit against USCIS! If you play with fire don’t cry when you get burnt
this isn’t true either. Many lawyers routinely file lawsuits and win. It’s very common in this country to sue federal agencies. In fact when there is a judge overseeing your case and a us attorney involved who has to respond in court, they are unlikely to apply random discretion and will follow the law to the letter. If your case has no red flags and is delayed or denied, a lawsuit is the best option.
 
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