How can I help my mother become a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident? 3 Answers as of June 09, 2011

I am currently 21 years old and a U.S. citizen. My mother has been living here for 21 years and has 3 children (including myself) but came into this country illegally. I wanted to know what could be done to help her get a Green Card or U.S. citizenship. Also, my stepfather had a work permit since 1988 but was not able to renew it this year. He has been paying taxes the entire time and has not committed any crimes. What can I do to help him become a U.S. citizen or become a permanent resident?

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Carlos E. Sandoval, P.A.
Carlos E. Sandoval, P.A. | Carlos Sandoval
We would need to check whether your parents qualify under section 245(i) of the immigration laws. Has anybody ever petitioned for her or your step father?
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/9/2011
Calderón Seguin PLC
Calderón Seguin PLC | Ofelia L. Calderon
Look, you have the following brief options which I cannot confirm without more information. You can file an I-130 petition for your mother. Period. She can only use that petition here in the U.S. IF she previously applied for either a labor certification or other visa petition prior to April 30, 2001 and was physically present in the U.S. in December of 2000, meaning she has protection under an old law called 245i. If no, she can use the petition outside and pick up her immigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy in whatever country she is from but will obviously require a waiver for the many years of unlawful presence she has accrued here in the U.S. The waiver requires that she show extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse, parent, or child. She may be eligible for something called cancellation of removal for certain non permanent residents. This requires 10 years of physical presence (there are special stop-time rules that may apply but I don't have enough info) and she must show that a U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident spouse, parent, or child will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if she cannot stay. And finally, she may also be eligible for something through your step-father who may also be eligible for something that I can't tell based on the limited information. As you can see, this is quite complicated. I would advise you to seek competent counsel in your area and see what can be done.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 6/8/2011
Fong & Associates
Fong & Associates | William D. Fong
You can start the process for her by filing the I-130 Relative Petition. You need to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to determine if your mother is eligible to get her permanent residence here in the US or if she will need to apply at her home consulate with a waiver to forgive the immigration violations. For her to be eligible for the green card in the US, she will need to have entered lawfully and overstayed or entered EWI to be grandfathered for section 245(i).
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/8/2011
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