For immigrants who have been placed in immigration court proceedings, options are available to stop deportation. Depending on the individual’s situation, asylum, withholding and/or cancellation of removal may be an option. Immigrants who have resided in the United States for over 10 years may qualify for cancellation depending on the consequences of a deportation would have on their immediate US family members. Legal Permanent Residents can also apply for cancellation of removal.
The key to remember here is that every individual’s case is different, and proceedings in immigration court can be long and drawn out. They can also be unfair, which is why it’s very important to consult with an attorney to see what options are available.
The asylum process is for immigrants who absolutely cannot return to their home country out of fear of persecution. These are people who would be harmed or killed because of their political beliefs, religion, race, or membership in a group that would make them a target of the government or someone acting on the government’s behalf.
Requesting asylum can be a long and complicated process, and there are no guarantees of success. For those already in immigration proceedings, an immigration judge will be the one to decide if the immigrant qualifies for asylum. Those not in immigration proceedings can affirmatively apply for asylum with the asylum office. However, with either process, the immigrant has only a year from the time they came into the US to apply for asylum.
Victims of domestic violence and crime are some of the most vulnerable population of immigrants without status. Whether it’s because they are unaware of their rights, or because they are afraid of being deported for calling the police, these victims need to know protections exist.
The VAWA and U visa processes were designed to assist victims of domestic violence and crime. VAWA is for spouses, children, and parents of United States citizens as well as for spouses and children of Legal Permanent Residents. The U visa was created to help victims of crime, requiring only that victims report the crime to the police and cooperate with the investigation.
The US allows the opportunity for US citizens and Legal Permanent Residents to petition their family members for their green card. US citizens can petition their spouses, their underage children and their parents without having to wait for a visa, while their adult children and siblings will have to wait. Legal Permanent Residents can only petition their spouses and unmarried children and will have to wait for a visa to be available.
Once a family member’s petition has been approved and a visa is available, the next process in getting a green card granted is either through consular processing or adjustment of status. Consular processing is for cases were a family member would have to go to the American Consulate and have their interview there. Adjustment of status is for family members already residing in the US, whose last entry into the country was legal. For example, they came in with a visa, received parole, or were petitioned by a family member before April 30, 2001.
It’s advisable to consult with an attorney before starting the process because even the smallest details can make your family member ineligible for a green card.
Become a citizen of the United States. Why? Once you become a citizen, you get the privilege to vote in elections. You’ll have better access to healthcare, and you no longer have to worry about getting deported (although some exceptions apply).
- What does it take to be a citizen?
- You speak English.
- You’ve been an LPR (Legal Permanent Resident) for three years and are married to the citizen who petitioned you.
- You’ve been an LPR for 5 years.
- You’re able to pass a civics and history test on the United States.
- What if I was convicted of a crime?
- Consult with an attorney to see if this will affect you.
- What if I owe child support or taxes?
- Depending on the amount owed, you may not qualify
- Consult with an attorney.
- What if I don’t speak English?
If you’ve been an LPR for over 15 to 20 years and are over the age of 50, you may qualify to take the civics exam and have the interview in your native language.
GREEN CARD RENEWAL & OTHER VISAS
Renewing your green card is simple. It can be done online or on paper. The government fee is $450. A fingerprint fee may also be required.
If you have been convicted of a crime since the last time you renewed your green card, you may want to consult an attorney before applying for the renewal yourself. Just as in the citizenship cases, USCIS may place you in deportation if your offense made you deportable.
Our office also assists with getting different types of visas.
For family members wanting to visit the US for the first time, we can help with getting the tourist visa. We also do renewals of work permits, DACA renewals, applying for travel documents, and getting parole in place for individuals with former and current military family members.