Being a United States citizen by birth is a gift that your parents may have broken the law to give to you. Undocumented immigrants sometimes enter the United States because they want their children to be natural-born citizens of the country someday.
Now that you are older and have the benefit of having been born here, you may find yourself worrying constantly about the risk to your parents. They sacrificed everything to give you a brighter future, but they also took on the risk of not being part of your future in the process.
Undocumented immigrants could face deportation if they simply encounter the wrong person on the road one day. The constant, looming threat of your family getting separated likely affects the mental health of everyone you love. Can you, as a citizen, file a petition on behalf of your parents?
Citizens can petition the government on behalf of their parents
When a citizen has family members who are not citizens, they can potentially file paperwork with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to ask for consideration of their loved one’s situation.
Citizens can potentially petition on behalf of spouses, children and siblings. For children who want to petition on behalf of their parents, the child citizen must already be at least 21 years of age to do so. Filing the Form I-130 or Petition for Alien Relative is the first step in this complicated but worthwhile process.
Your petition will have a place in line for consideration based on when you file. It may mean that you have to wait several years. If your loved one is not legally in the United States, I-130 does not excuse their undocumented status. To benefit from this process, they will have to wait outside of the country and enter it legally after receiving a visa. You will also have to agree to be their financial sponsor when the time comes.
Complex legal situations demand professional help
Trying to navigate USCIS paperwork on your own could lead to making minor but preventable mistakes that affect your chances of success. Attempting to represent yourself or your parents in court might need making a mistake and how you handle yourself or succumbing to emotions, both of which could affect the outcome of your petition.
Getting help with deciding what programs or visas apply to your situation and the necessary paperwork to apply for them can make this complex process a little simpler.