What is the Ombudsman?
Carlos Sandoval, Immigration lawyer, explains what the Ombudsman is and how to use their help in certain cases.
- What is it? By the exact definition, the Ombudsman is like a “Public Defender” as we have in most countries. The mission of this “official” is to guarantee respect for the rights of each individual in the framework of any type of judicial, administrative, bureaucratic or other action. Likewise, USCIS also has an Ombudsman.
- What is it for? The entity is assigned to
- Improve the quality of service that USCIS offers to the public
- Provide personalized service
- Identify systematic problems
- Make recommendations to the USCIS Immigrant Benefits Administration
- Note that they do not have the authority to adjudicate cases or alter decisions unless the decision is based on a clear misuse or abuse of the law.
- They cannot intervene in long processing times
- They cannot offer legal advice
3. How to use this help tool? BEFORE asking for help from the Ombudsman it is important to know that you must first EXHAUST all available resources. Basically, you must comply with the recommendations below:
- In what situations could you contact?
- Applications that were rejected by USCIS wrongly
- Certain cases involving US military personnel and their families
- Certain cases where the person is in the process of deportation before the Immigration court and has an application or petition pending before USCIS that could help in the process.
- Systematic errors
- Mail errors
- Lost files
- Processing times excessively OUTSIDE the normal processing time
- Have first contacted:
- USCIS 800-375-5283 or used their e-tools and have not obtained a solution or response after 60-90 days
- Attended appointment or sent email to USCIS without resolution
- Contacted a government department or agency for assistance
- Contacted a congressman for help
4. Who can contact the Ombudsman? Any person or their legal representative.
Note that the process is done online and you must meet the above requirements for your call to be effective. Be sure to inform yourself well before using this tool. For more information, feel free to contact us.