Michigan Federal Court Refuses to Compel USCIS to Adjudicate TN Visa Professional’s I-485.

In Maftoum v. Chavez, a Michigan federal court dismissed a TN Visa Professional’s case requesting the court to order USCIS to adjudicate his I-485 adjustment application, which was pending for over two years.

The Plaintiff, a Canadian citizen, married a United States citizen on May 9, 2005. On July 22, 2005, the Plaintiff was lawfully admitted to the United States as a TN nonimmigrant. On October 25, 2005, the Plaintiff’s wife filed an I-130 Petition and the Plaintiff filed an I-485 Application to Adjust Status. USCIS approved the I-130 petition on May 10, 2006. However, the Plaintiff’s I-485 application remained pending, subject to completion of a “name check” by the FBI.

The Plaintiff’s case is one among many of the lawsuits filed against USCIS in federal district court seeking to force USCIS to make a decision on long-delayed I-485 applications. These cases are brought under the Mandamus Act, which provides that a court has the authority to compel an agency to perform a duty, and the Administrative Procedure Act, which provides that an agency has a duty to conclude a matter within a reasonable time. As in this case, most often USCIS’s delay in making a decision is due to pending security checks.

There is currently a split among U.S. district courts as to whether or not a court has jurisdiction over these Mandamus/APA claims seeking to compel an adjustment of status application. See AILF’s List of Recent Mandamus Cases. In this case, the court sided with other Michigan federal courts ruling that courts do not have jurisdiction to hear these types of claims. The result: the Plaintiff must continue to wait for USCIS to complete its background checks and make a decision on the I-485 at its own pace. See Maftoum v. Chavez, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80491 (E.D. Mich. 2007).