How can an undocumented immigrant get legal status in the US?

Some undocumented foreign nationals may be eligible for asylum if they can establish that because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, are unable or unwilling to return to their country of nationality, and are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country.

Foreign nationals in removal proceedings may be eligible for cancellation of removal if (i) they have been physically present in the US for a continuous period of 10 years, (ii) have been persons of good moral character for 10 years, (iii) have not bee convicted of certain offenses, (iv) establish that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse, parent or child and (v) warrant a favorable exercise of discretion.

Persons who: (i) have suffered substantial physical or mental abuse as a result of having been a victim of certain criminal activity (such as murder, rape, kidnapping, domestic violence), (ii) possess credible and reliable information establishing that (s)he has knowledge of details concerning the criminal activity, (iii) have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity and (iv) criminal activity occurred in the US or violated a US federal law that provided for extraterritorial jurisdiction may qualify for U visa.

Certain persons are allowed to apply of adjustment of status notwithstanding the fact that they entered without inspection, overstayed, or worked without authorization if: they (a) are beneficiaries of a labor certification or visa petition filed on or before January 14, 1998; or (ii) are beneficiaries of a labor certification of visa petition that was filed after January 14, 1998 but on or before April 30, 2001, and were physically present in the US on December 21, 2000.

Undocumented immigrant’s spouse, adult child or parent who are US citizens may petition for their legal permanent resident status.

Temporary protected status (TPS) is a temporary benefit to certain nationals of designated countries due to conditions in the country (such as ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster, or an epidemic or other extraordinary and temporary conditions) that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning. Countries currently designated for TPS are El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

Undocumented persons who demonstrate that the (i) they came to the US before reaching 16th birthday, (ii) were physically present in the US on June 15, 2012, (iii) have continuously resided in the US since June 15, 2007, up to the present time, (iv) entered without inspection or were out of status on June 15, 2012, (v) were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012, (vi) are currently in school, graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, obtained GED certificate or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or US Armed Forces may qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline some of the options to consider for undocumented immigrants to get legal status in the US. If you would like to obtain legal status in the US, call our experienced immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.


What does the US Supreme Court latest decision mean for DACA recipients

On June 18, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act because the DHS failed to consider important aspects of the problem – whether to continue only the deferred action part of the DACA program. DHS failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its action and also failed to address the considerable reliance interests created by the DACA program, such as the impact on Dreamers and their families, if the agency terminated DACA.
The parties agreed that DHS may rescind DACA. The Court remanded the case for further consideration.

Under the US Supreme Court decision, USCIS must continue to process the following types of DACA requests:

  • Current DACA recipients can file a renewal DACA request.
  • Recipients whose previous DACA expired one year ago or less may still file a renewal DACA request.
  • DACA Recipients whose previous DACA expired more than one year ago cannot file a renewal DACA request but may file an initial DACA request.
  • DACA recipients whose previous DACA was terminated at any point cannot request DACA as a renewal but may file an initial DACA request.

In order to comply with the Court’s order, USCIS will have to publish guidance on processing the applications of applicants who have not previously been granted DACA and advance parole requests that were suspended under prior court orders.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law in order to outline the latest DACA developments.  If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for DACA or the best strategy after the US Supreme Court decision, call our experienced immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or contact an experienced immigration attorney via our website to schedule a consultation. We look forward to discussing how we can help you with DACA application.


Irena Juras Gets Dreamer her Green Card

A woman that has been brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 3 years old (let’s call her the “Dreamer”) came to my office with her husband who is a U.S. citizen. They had been married for 2.5 years and have three children born in the United States. We discussed the Dreamer’s options and the Dreamer has decided to request the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). She had a high school diploma and met the residency and other requirements for DACA approval. DACA was approved and she received her work authorization. Then, we filed a petition with the Dreamer’s husband as the petitioner. The petition was accompanied by supporting documents sufficient to rebut the presumption of marriage fraud. The petition was approved. Meanwhile, the Dreamer’s mother in Mexico was seriously ill and we applied for advance parole to allow the Dreamer to travel to Mexico to visit her mother. The advance parole was approved and the Dreamer traveled to Mexico, visited and helped her mother and entered the United States legally. Once the Dreamer entered the U.S. legally and met all other requirements for legal permanent residency, we filed her green card application. The application processing time in Phoenix is now more than one year. Finally, we attended an interview with the Dreamer and her husband, the application was approved and her green card has arrived. It was nice to see the happiness in her eyes to finally feel relieved that at age of 31 after living in the United States for 28 years illegally in fear, she does not have to worry that she will be deported and taken from her family. She is very appreciative for my help in guiding her through this process!
If you are facing similar circumstances or know someone else facing similar circumstances, call the immigration attorney Irena Juras at 480-425-2009 or reach us via email to schedule a consultation to discuss how we can help you!


President Obama Executive Order

President Barack Obama has announced the most sweeping overhaul of the immigration system in decades to shield five million undocumented immigrants and prioritizing the deportation of “felons, not families.” The undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who have lived in the U.S. for five years or longer will receive work authorization for three years, as long as they pass background checks and pay back taxes. Deferred action is not a pathway to citizenship. It is not legal status. The undocumented parents will just not be a law enforcement priority.

Obama will also remove the upper age limit of 30 years old from a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or Dreamers that allows those brought illegally to the country as children to stay, offering relief to thousands of people.

If you have any questions regarding Obama’s Executive Order or think you may be eligible, please complete the contact form or call the Juras Law Firm, PLC at 480-425-2009 to speak with an experienced immigration attorney. An experienced Arizona immigration attorney is here to answer your questions and guide you through the process.