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Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.
Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq., Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 109283
Experience:  10+ years of experience in various aspects of U.S. Immigration Law.
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I am a mentor to a family that are illegal immigrants. They

Customer Question

I am a mentor to a family that are illegal immigrants. They have 4 children two of which were born in the USA. They have been in this country for almost 12 years. They are great people who want to become citizens. The husband is working but the wife is only helping her mother with her mothers food truck. What steps to they need to go through to become citizens?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Hello! My name is***** and I am a licensed attorney with more than 13 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help.

They have to become U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents first. How did they enter the U.S.? Illegally or with a visa? Which visa? What country are they from? How long ago did they enter the U.S.? How old was each when each entered the U.S.? Please try to answer each question. Thank you.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They are from Mexico and did not enter with a Visa from what I have learned. My understanding is the entered illegally. They have been in the USA for over 12 years and have had two of there 4 children born in this country.
Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

They are in the same situation as millions of others and many of those are married to U.S. Citizens and have U.S. Citizen children over age 21 and still they cannot fix their status without leaving the U.S. I will give you the options so that you know what they are and don't lose money talking to attorneys that may promise something with a low chance of success just so that they can charge you. So be careful. They have the following options:

1) Wait for the immigration reform that comes out. If it is approved the way that they are intending, then they may be able to get Residency if they entered the U.S. early enough.

2) Apply for Asylum (they had to have done this within the 1st year of being in the U.S. unless there is a credible excuse or changed country conditions), Withholding of Removal, Convention Against Torture, or Cancellation of Removal. The first three things are if they fear to return to their home country because they believe that they will be specifically targeted due to their race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion and that they run a high risk of great bodily injury, torture, or death as a result. The last, Cancellation, they would have to prove that they have at least 10 years in the U.S. AND they must also prove that if they are deported, a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident that depends upon them will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship. This hardship must be something more than emotional separation hardship or financial hardship, so it is difficult to get.

3) If they marry a U.S. Citizen (for love, of course), they could file an I-130 here in the U.S. (which will give them no legal status), but once that I-130 is approved, really the only thing they can do is leave the U.S. and apply to come back in at the U.S. Embassy/consulate in their home country as the spouse of a U.S. Citizen. At that point, they will want to deny them because they entered illegally and stayed. So they would have to apply for an I-601 waiver (forgiveness) and to get this waiver they will have to prove that their spouse will suffer extreme hardship if they are not allowed back in to the U.S. These waivers are very difficult to get. The reason they are difficult to get is because the hardship probably will need to be more than just economic hardship or emotional separation hardship. So because they are difficult to get, no one wants to risk leaving the U.S. and getting stuck outside for 10 years if it isn't granted.

You can look at this link to get more information on I-601 waivers. It is from the U.S. Embassy in Syria, but it is a good description and the process should be similar in all U.S. Embassies.

and here is another link:

And here is a link to what extreme hardship is:,0717-scott.shtm

And about Obama's new law, the I-601A waiver, it isn't a new law. It is a new procedure. What has changed is that before, a person had to leave the U.S. and spend around 15 months or so while waiting for their appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country and then HOPE that they got approved, but the change is that now the same person can apply inside the U.S., get a pre-approval, and then with that pre-approval they can leave the U.S. for just a few days or even a day, present themselves for a scheduled appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, and then get the final approval and come back as long as there are no other reasons of inadmissibility, just having entered the U.S. illegally or having overstayed. Here is an official link:

I am truly sorry for the bad news, but the options are very limited at the moment. Regardless, at least you know the truth and that will keep you out of the hands of unscrupulous attorneys that are looking to take advantage of a desperate situation to charge thousands of dollars for something that has very little chance of producing a positive result.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions and there is no additional charge. Also, should you need to chat on the phone, private email or need help reviewing documentation, I am happy to do so for a small additional cost. Let me know if you are interested in these – I am happy to give you more details! When we are done, if you would be so kind as to leave a positive rating for my service, I would sincerely ***** ***** You can even ask additional questions without additional charge even after leaving a positive rating. Thank you for your understanding.

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Hello. I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help? Please let me know. Thank you!

Expert:  Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your kindness and respect. Good luck to you.