Congress requires that SIJS petitions are to be decided within 180 days of filing. This is contained in Section 1232(d)(2) of Title 8 of the US Code, which reads:
All applications for special immigrant status under section 101(a)(27)(J) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J)) shall be adjudicated by the Secretary of Homeland Security not later than 180 days after the date on which the application is filed. [emphasis added]
For those with undecided SIJS petitions pending more than 180 days, this language provides great ammo for a strong mandamus lawsuit – which is an action filed in federal court asking that the judge compel the government to adjudicate an immigration petition. With so many valuable legal rights in limbo, if a visa number is available for a SIJS petitioner who has been waiting more than 180 days for a decision, a mandamus lawsuit is definitely worth considering.