USCIS will sit on your response for another 4 months, then issue a decision.
Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.
It is amazing you would try to navigate this without a lawyer. Most likely, the petitions will be denied and the immigrant will be referred to immigration court for removal proceedings. It is also possible they will grant an interview. If so, there will be an intense interview. You will likely be separated from your spouse and they will question each of you separately. You need a lawyer. You needed one earlier, but better late than never.
Thanks for your inquiry. I would recommend that hiring an Immigration Attorney at this point is probably a good idea. Truth is that your case can take a really long time to finalize and instead of waiting for CIS to do what it wants to do when it wants to do it, I would suggest that speaking to an attorney may get your case back on the right track and sooner rather than later.
Here is the deal. CIS has some issues with the validity of the marriage and there are some issues with your eligibility for adjustment of status because of a criminal matter. Looks like you have taken the right steps and responded to the issues raised by CIS but there is no definite time during which a decision will be issued in this case. Like most immigration matters, the law does not specify when a decision MUST be issued and that is why I am concerned that this may take a long time to review and to decide.
My take on this is that if CIS can report that it is handling cases in less than 6 months, then it should be able to handle all cases within 6 months. But what often happens is that your case becomes complicated as a result of the concerns which CIS has related in the Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) and then your case gets stuck in someone's file cabinet because the officer who is responsible for deciding your case has to conduct 8 new interviews 4 days during the week and is not provided the time that is needed to review your response to the RFE's or the NOID.
Inquiries can be made in writing, they can be made via Infopass, they can be made through the National Customer Service Center toll free hotline and depending on the local officer, inquiries can often be made through some system set up with CIS and its local attorneys. But each of these inquiries leads to the same result. That is that CIS cannot be forced to do anything barring the involvement of a federal court or a significant amount of pressure placed on the agency by some outside source.
That outside source could be a local congressional representative (member of the US House of Reps or the US Senate) however it has been my experience that the congressional offices are unlikely to step in and make any government agency do anything. And that is really not their job. Their function is to provide a means of discussing your case with the local CIS office but they are not there to make anyone do anything.
This leaves federal court involvement as the sole means of making CIS do something. And I would highly recommend that you discuss your case with someone who handles this kind of work. For whatever reason it is, the local Field Office has some belief that the marriage which you entered was entered for the purpose of evading the immigration laws. You have done your part in responding to that allegation but how long will it take CIS to actually make a decision on the application? I have no idea, that's how long.
I am not sure how long your case has been pending and that would guide my discussion as to whether it is time to go straight to Court or whether it is time to give CIS some additional flexibility on making a decision. I generally do not institute a federal court action unless my client has been waiting at least 2 times the reported processing of similar applications. Looks like you are going through the Newark CIS Office. They are currently reporting a 4 months processing time. So it looks like you would definitely be someone I would consider going to federal court with under the circumstances.
My office is in Orlando, you live in New Jersey. I have appeared before federal courts in Wisconsin, Illinois and throughout Florida and always welcome a new case in a new jurisdiction. And there are attorneys in your local area who handle this kind of work. No attorney can promise how long it will take, but a qualified attorney is willing to do what it takes to resolve your situation. It is time to lawyer up. Good luck.
Stop now and hire an experienced immigration attorney. Once your case is denied, you will have an option to reopen your case, appeal it, or do nothing (in which case you could be served with an NTA before the immigration court, although this is not likely).
If I was your attorney, I would file a timely appeal to the BIA when your case is denied (it will likely get denied). If successful, the case will likely be remanded ("sent back") to your local USCIS office. USCIS will have yet another opportunity to deny your case, which is why it is important that you have an attorney.
Feel free to call for a consultation.
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