Can an uncle petition for residency? 4 Answers as of September 19, 2010

My niece is 16 years old, she is wanting to go to college but is illegal. Her parents are also illegal and her sisters are citizens but not 18 yet. Her uncle is a citizen and was wanting to petition her but cannot because of their relationship (because they are not daughter/and father). How can she obtain residency?

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
To be to the point, your uncle can only petition for your niece if he adopts her before she turns 17, and with the approval of her parents, in a sworn declaration disavowing their parental rights in favor of the uncle, then filing a petition for alien relative. There may be a change in the law with a proposed bill called the DREAM Act, that will be voted upon by the Congress next week. For this and other reasons, you will need legal counsel to help you. If you and your family want to help this young lady, by all means give me a call or e-mail, and I'll set up a conference with you and your relative in person or by phone.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/19/2010
JCS Immigration & Visa Law Office
JCS Immigration & Visa Law Office | Jack C. Sung
1. Uncle can petition her parent who is related to the uncle by blood, and she may be able to obtain legal status in the future after the petition for her parent is approved and the approved parent petitions her.

2. The Dream Act is being considered right now in Congress. She may also obtain legal status through the new law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/16/2010
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny | Svetlana Boukhny
She cannot. If she entered the US unlawfully, she will not be able to legalize her status within the US even if yours was a qualifying family relationship and even if and when her sisters turn 21 (that's the legal age at which they are able to petition for their parents and siblings, not 18). Until she is 18, she is not accruing unlawful presence time so she would be able to depart the US and reenter based on an approved petition that would be filed and approved. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/16/2010
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