I have gotten temporary I-551 stamps for clients in just this situation. The last time it was done was about one month ago. It is possible, so I am not sure why your attorney would be indicating otherwise.
Scott D. Pollock
Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.
105 W. Madison, Suite 2200
Chicago, IL 60602
fax: (312) 444-1950
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Mr. Pollock is correct. However, there may be some confusion among less experienced immigration attorneys and USCIS information officials at 101 E. Congress. It may take some effort.
The reason is that in situations where an I-751 is pending with USCIS, and not in Immigration Court, the USCIS has preferred not to issue I-551 stamps. Why? Well, DHS considers the old I-551 card to be valid, even if expired. It may insist that the I-797 receipt for the I-751 confirms that the card remains valid for an additional year. In the past, DHS used to insist on an unexpired I-551 stamp for those with expired cards who travelled outside the U.S. Now, it seems that it does not.
Note that an I-751 applicant who is denied and now in removal proceedings cannot travel outside the U.S. without deporting themselves in the process.
Ultimately, if the one year extension, given on the form I-797 for the I-751 receipt, expires, then USCIS should issue an I-551 stamp. Your attorney should contact the I/O supervisor, where there are concerns.
In addition, the attorney should consider charging a fee for the time spent, where the attorney did not anticipate spending additional time to do the work. Some attorney's will claim that they are charging 'a flat fee.' However, the attorney will use their discretion and may do less work in an effort to keep the fees at that low level.
It is possible that your attorney did not realize that you would need this sort of help. Perhaps, the attorney did not realize that with a bit of effort, he or she can get an I-551 stamp in your passport. The attorney may have to do the work without charge or upset a client. You may pay more for the additional work.
This is general information and is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.