Recorded on 9 August 2012.
Hello, everyone. This is Rajiv S. Khanna for immigration.com, the Law Offices of Rajiv S. Khanna, P.C.
I have indicated in the conference call last week that I will record a video for people to be able to contact their Congressman and how this whole process of following on stuck cases works.
When, how, and how often to contact your Congressman?
These are some of things you need to be aware of. First of all, whenever you have a problem between two or three different government agencies, let’s say your case is stuck between USCIS or different offices of the same agency, for example, USCIS Service Center or the local office. Nobody knows what is going on with the files. Or a citizenship application has been stuck or something is stuck between the State Department, for example, a consulate, and the USCIS. Whenever you have a problem that is trans-agency, it is always very effective to contact your Congressman.
Why do Congressmen help people?
They help people partly because they consider this to be part of their job. Even though you are not a U.S. citizen or non-immigrant or somebody who is just visiting, Congressmen’s offices usually are quite helpful. And a lot of people have had lot of success in speaking with their Congressmen’s office.
What you will do is, I will show you in a second. You will figure out whom to contact depending upon where you live. You will call their office and you will tell them, I have an immigration-related problem. I live in your constituency. Who should I speak with in your office to help me to resolve the immigration problem? They typically have one or two people who are almost permanently committed to helping people with immigration problems.
Don't expect them to give you legal help. They are not going to provide you legal consultancy. What they can do is help you to track the file; they can shake the tree where the file is stuck. So no legal help but, procedurally, they can be quite helpful.
There are two types of Congressmen and Congresswomen. One who is member of U.S. House of Representatives, and the others who are members of the U.S. Senate.
So, what you do is, you can go to either one of them.
Let us start with the House of Representative. Go to http://house.gov, enter your zip code, and click "Go." And this tells me who my representative is right here. And if click on their name, you can get information on their offices. You can contact their local office or their Washington D.C. office. It does not matter. This is how you can contact your member of the House of Representatives.
For a Senator, you will go to http://www.senate.gov/ and go to the state where you are from. For example, I am from Virginia so I will select that and click "Go," and it will me who my Senator is. These are my two senators, Mark Warner and Jim Webb. I can contact either of them. Either one of them can help me. You can contact anybody. But don't contact everybody. I think you should be little mindful about wasting resources, and it also becomes problematic, so just stick with one.
This is about contacting your Congressman or Senator, but there is another agency when you have a USCIS-related problem. It’s called the Ombudsman. Do the search on Google or any search engine for USCIS Ombudsman. That brings you to the "USCIS Ombudsman Case Assistance” page.
There, actually you can register a case with the Ombudsman office. If you click here on the "Case Assistance," it tells you how you can get assistance from them. This is for issues that are related to only USCIS, and they have been very helpful for a few of our cases. You can open a case online. Remember, once again, this is USCIS only.
I hope this helps you folks to find your way around some of the problematic issues. I want to add one more thing. Don't start a case with the Congressman and Ombudsman at the same time. I think the Ombudsman does not like that and probably won’t allow you to do that. One or the other. If you have a multiple agency problem, contact the Congressman. They are usually more helpful.