Do I have any chance in making my wife legal, even though she entered illegally. Will she have to go back to Mexico?

My wife was brought here illegally by her parents when she was about 2 years old between 1988-1989, and has been here since then. We have been together for 8 years and have been married for almost a year now and have a 3 year old son. From what we know she is not in any petition. We are currenty looking for an immigration lawyer but haven’t found one yet. One of our main concerns is that she will have to go back to Mexico and in the state the Mexico is right now with all the violence. I don’t want her to go there.

A: Yes, there is a chance of getting a legal status for her, but not likely any time soon. If you are a US citizen, you can file a petition for her, which will probably be approved, but that’s just the first step. To get her green card, she would then need to leave the US and apply for an immigrant visa at the US consulate in Ciudad Juarez.

But — now that she has been here more than 1 year without lawful status, if she leaves the US, she will not be allowed to return for 10 years! There is a waiver of this “10-year bar” but it is very difficult to obtain, and only if your circumstances meet the requirements.

Another possibility is that, if she gets picked up by Immigration and put into removal (deportation) procedings, she might be able to get “cancellation of removal” which would allow her to remain in the U.S. But that is only a last resort — cancellation is also very difficult to get, and definitely something she should have an attorney’s help with. It is not something you would just “apply for,” unless she were already in removal procedings.

At this moment, there may not be anything an attorney can do get her lawful status in the near future. But an immigration attorney can explain more about just what her options are, and what obstacles will need to be faced and overcome.

Answered By:

Gunderson, Denton & Peterson, P.C. – Attorney Mark Egan
1930 N. Arboleda, Suite 201
Mesa, Arizona 85213
Office: 480-655-7440
Fax: 480-655-7099

Re-Published from: AVVO Legal Questions and Answers

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