As I have written about before, USCIS has a National Customer Service Center (NCSC) where customers can call to ask about the status of their cases through an 800 number, (800) 375-5283.
Recently a former client came to see me about delays in a benefit he was seeking and we discussed suing USCIS because of the delay. While in my office, he said he wanted to call the “800 number” to see if there had been any late-breaking progress in his case. I scoffed, telling him he would be placed on hold for an hour or more before he got through to an officer as this has been my recent experience. He looked at me incredulously. “It will just take a few minutes,” he assured. He called and in fact his call just took a few minutes. Is this the same NCSC I call, I wondered?
When a person calls the NCSC, you get routed through a typical phone message tree: Press 1 for this and 2 of this…. One of the choices is for lawyers. “Press 1 if you are an attorney.” My assumption (and you know what they say about assumptions) was that by pressing “1,” I am on my way to first class treatment. My thinking has been, “If I am waiting an hour, pity the poor unrepresented souls who call on their own.” As it turns out, it just may be that by pressing “1,” you damn yourself to a long wait that customers who call for themselves do not endure.
Please let me know by commenting to this posting if your experience as an attorney is interminable waits and as an applicant calling on your own you get prompt service. It would indeed be odd if USCIS’s NCSC discriminates against represented customers by persecuting their attorneys. Posted June 11, 2013.