How can I fix my parents' papers to make them US citizens? - Immigration Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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How can I fix my parents' papers to make them US citizens?

I'm a US citizen, 22 years old. My parents immigrated illegally 25 years ago. Can I or my 21 year old sister fix them? They have no record other than driving without a driver's license. We currently live in Arkansas.

Answer By Floyd Fernandez
Pacifica Legal Services
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Your parents are still subject to being removed from the country, regardless of their good record. But you can definitely petition for them, and try to claim them as dependents, and through that to seek to get their inadmissibility waived under I-601. They can also apply for cancellation of removal too, if there are any children at home dependent on them.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/20/2012

Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C.
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Generally, under current laws, someone who has entered the U.S. unlawfully and without inspection is not permitted to adjust status in the U.S. to become a Lawful Permanent Resident (to get a "Green Card"), even if sponsored by an adult U.S. citizen child. Instead, that person must go outside the U.S. and seek immigration benefits through "consular processing." If that person was unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than a year, however, he may be subject to a very harsh 10-year bar to re-entering the U.S. There are a few exceptions and waivers that may be available, for example the so-called "245(i)" exception for some people for whom a petition may have been filed before April, 2001. I strongly hope that Congress will enact "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" that would create a new pathway for people like your parents, who have lived here for 25 years and except for their entry and driving tickets have obeyed the law, to be able to deal with their immigration status in a fair and appropriate way. Regrettably, few people expect Congress to take such action soon, but it could be helpful to contact Congress Representatives and Senators to urge passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. It would be wise for your parents to engage an immigration attorney to carefully review all of their circumstances and evaluate any immigration eligibilities, options and strategies.

Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 1/26/2012

Oltarsh and Associates, PC
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You can fix them if they entered legally, or they filed a labor certification or were the beneficiaries of a petition prior to April 2001.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/24/2012

Answer By Reza Athari
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC
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If they entered legally or a petition filed for them to qualify for 245i, and have no other inadmissibility issues, yes. I suggest you consult with an attorney.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 1/20/2012


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Any US Citizen who is at least 21 years old can petition for a foreign-born parent. In your case, either you or your sister could file a petition on behalf of your parents. However, before they can apply for the green card your parents will have to file a request for waiver (another form) asking not to be subject to the 10-year bar (without the waiver, because they are in the US without proper authorization, your parents would be removed from the US and not allowed to apply to enter again for 10 years). Unfortunately the current rules for the so-called hardship waiver also impose a separation; so your parents would have to leave the US for months or perhaps years while their waiver request and applications (not the same as your petition) are processed for approval (or denial). But there is a glimmer of hope in the horizon for people like your parents insofar as President Obama has proposed a new rule: that undocumented spouses and parents of US citizens obtain their waiver while still in the US. Still, once the waiver is granted, they would have to leave the US to apply for their green card and when their application was approved they can get a visa and re-enter with their hardship waivers in hand. If this new proposal takes effect as a rule, the waiting period to re-enter would be considerably shorter than 10 years.

Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 1/20/2012

Din Law
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Depending on when you guys separated there is one way that may be available for him. If he qualifies, he may be able to come back under a law called VAWA.

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/19/2012

Answer By Harun Kazmi
Kazmi & Sakata
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Unfortunately, there is no easy way to correct their status. If you were brought here illegally, you cannot obtain any status (unless the laws change). There is an existing exception that permits the filing of a penalty ($1,000), if you have had a previous family or employment based case filed by 04/30/2001. Has anyone in your family filed such a case for your parents? Otherwise, you must go through a consulate process and be subject to a 10 year bar.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/19/2012

Answer By Isaul Verdin
Verdin Law Firm, LLC
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You can petition for them, but they would not be eligible for a waiver through either of their children.

Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 1/19/2012

Answer By Leon Wildes

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Yes. Your parents qualify for residence if sponsored by a US citizen son or daughter over age 21.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 1/19/2012


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It depends on how they entered the United States originally. If they entered with a visa and were admitted by an immigration officer at the border they may be able to adjust their status to lawful permanent residents.

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 1/19/2012

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