How can I fix my parents' papers to make them US citizens? 17 Answers as of June 29, 2012

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.

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
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: 6/29/2012
Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C.
Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C. | David Nabow Soloway
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
Oltarsh and Associates, PC | Jennifer Oltarsh
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
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Reza Athari
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
Law Office of Sylvia Ontaneda-Bernales | Sylvia Ontaneda-Bernales
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
    Din Law | Khaja Din Attorney at Law
    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: 1/20/2012
    Kazmi & Sakata
    Kazmi & Sakata | Harun Kazmi
    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: 1/20/2012
    Verdin Law Firm, LLC
    Verdin Law Firm, LLC | Isaul Verdin
    You can petition for them, but they would not be eligible for a waiver through either of their children.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/20/2012
    Wildes & Weinberg, P.C. | Leon Wildes
    Yes. Your parents qualify for residence if sponsored by a US citizen son or daughter over age 21.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/20/2012
    Kriezelman, Burton & Associates | Matthew Scott Kriezelman
    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: 1/20/2012
    Law Office of Eric Fisher | Eric Fisher
    You should file an I-130 visa petition for your parents. If they can show they were inspected when they came to the US, they can apply for lawful status at the same time. If they cannot show inspection, they should speak with an immigration attorney for their options.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 1/20/2012
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    You can do it, but you will need to seek a waiver first before you can start the process of petition of alien relatives.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 1/20/2012
    World Esquire Law Firm
    World Esquire Law Firm | Aime Katambwe
    The both of you are certainly are of age to be able to petition them into the US. The problem is their manner of entry; they came in illegally. Therefore, in order for them to receive any kind of a visa, they would need to return to their country of origin and be interviewed there. Since they have been in the US for the past 25 years, they would most certainly need a waiver of the 3-10 bar if applicable before they can come back. On the other hand, if they happen to qualify under section 245i, that is if anyone has ever petitioned either one them before April 30, 2001, then they get to process their green cards right here in the US without the need for returning home first.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/20/2012
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal
    Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal | Alexander Segal
    The answer will hinge on whether they entered the country legally or not. They may be able to adjust their status through a petition filed by either you or your sister if they entered the country legally. However, if they entered the country without inspection, they are likely ineligible to adjust their status unless they qualify for benefits under INA 245(i).
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Law Offices of Alan R. Diamante, APLC
    Law Offices of Alan R. Diamante, APLC | Alan R. Diamante
    It all depends if they have ever tried to immigrate before and whether their parents have papers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny
    Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny | Svetlana Boukhny
    Did your parents enter the US unlawfully? Did anyone ever file any petition on their behalf prior to April 30, 2001? If the answer to both is no, under the current immigration laws, they will not be able to legalize their status within the US. You or your sister could petition for them but they would have to go back to their home country to consular process and leaving the US would cause them to trigger an automatic 10 year bar to reentry which can only be waived by a showing of extreme hardship to a US citizen spouse or child and it is very difficult to do in most cases.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/19/2012
    Law Offices of Kiran Nair
    Law Offices of Kiran Nair | Kiran K. Nair
    You may petition for your parents whereby they should legalize their status to legal permanent residents. The applicable forms are located on, or consult with an attorney which I recommend because their unlawful presence requires a waiver but which can now be processed in the US thereby shortening the timeframe required to process the petition in their native country.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/19/2012
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