I have a Mexican friend who has been in the US for 12 years and has been living with a woman who is a U.S. Citizen for 9 years but never legally married. They now have 2 children, 4 and 2 years of age. The Mexican friend does not have legal documents. What are the laws relative to my Mexican friend obtaining legal status because he has been living with a U.S citizen and/or because they now have children together?Thanks!
State/Country relating to question: Tennessee
This is my first try. Thanks!
Do you know if your friend entered legally on A visa or Border Crossing Card or illegally without inspection?
I am securing accurate information from my friend and will get back to you in a few minutes.
He came to the US when he was 13 years old with friends. He never had a visa. However, he did graduate from a US High School in 1994. He has been with the mother of his 2 children for 9 years, since 2001.
Ok - at this time if he does not have proof of legal entry, Cancellation of Removal will be his only option. It requires that he have ten years here, good moral character, and that a very very very high level of hardship would result to either US citizen children or a US citizen spouse. If he were to marry his wife could file an I-130 Immigrant Visa petition for him, but he would not be able to adjust status in the US without proof of legal entry. There is an option of consular processing, but he would then need to leave the US and if he leaves now he will trigger a ten year bar to his return.
Are you saying that due to hardship (U.S. Citizen - Children) he could gain approval to stay in the U.S.? But in order for him to file for that approval he would have to show evidence that he was here for ten years? He has been here for 16 years. Please explain.
Yes, he would need to show an extreme level of hardship to the US citizen children should he be removed from the US. Ten years physical presence in the US is required, so he clearly meets that. If he would marry the mother of the children that would likely be a good idea. The I-130 filing would at least be something started, while deciding whether to apply for Cancellation of Removal.
Help me understand...She can marry him even though he is in the situation he is in? Then once they marry she can file the I-130? How does the I-130 apply to the cancellation of removal and what does cancellation of removal mean?
Yes, they can marry whether he has status or not. If they do marry, she can file an immigrant visa petition for him. If he had entered legally, or - likely - if the laws change - he could then get a greencard based upon the Marriage. Because he doesn't have proof of a legal entry, the marriage based immigrant visa petition would require him to leave the US and go to a US Consulate to apply for the greencard. Leaving the US would trigger a ten year bar to his return - there may be waivers, but it would still be a long wait. So instead, I would suggest they marry and file the I-130, to either sit on it and wait for a change in law so he could apply here - or, at least, so they have a plan started should he be caught and removed from the US, or look to applying for Cancellation of Removal, if there would be issues for either the kids or his wife (to be) without him here.
One last question...do you have an Immigration attorney contact for the Nashville,TN area? Thanks for your help. Joe
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