#new immigration law
IMMIGRATION: A new immigration reform law will offer options to those seeking to avoid deportation
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, March 15, 2013, 4:00 AM
Q My wife has been here for 25 years. She is in deportation proceedings. The judge has scheduled her next hearing for October 2014. What are her chances of staying in the United States? If immigration reform becomes law, will she qualify? My wife came here when she was just 12. We have three children born here.
A Unless your wife has a criminal record, she has a good chance of earning the right to stay in the United States. She has two possibilities. She can ask the immigration judge to grant her a “cancellation of removal” green card. Or, if Congress passes immigration reform legislation legalizing undocumented immigrants, she can decide whether applying under the new law makes sense for her. If she gets cancellation of removal, she will become a permanent resident immediately. If she applies for legal status under any new legislation, it could take years before she can get residence. Once Congress passes immigration reform, your wife should speak to an immigration law expert before she decides which path makes more sense for her.
To get a cancellation of removal green card, an undocumented person must have been here at least ten years. And, the person must convince an immigration judge that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent(s), or child will suffer “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” if the person is deported. Exceptional and unusual hardship means hardship that goes beyond the hardship that anyone would suffer if separated from a parent, child or spouse. To prove hardship to your children, you will want a mental health professional to evaluate them. The professional can describe the hardship that separation from their mother or moving abroad would have on your children.
Because only an immigration judge can grant cancellation of removal, I have been reluctant to recommend that undocumented immigrants turn themselves into immigration to apply. That’s because if the judge rules against the applicant, he or she could be forced to leave the United States. These days I have a different view. I am very confident that Congress will pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. If that happens, individuals in deportation proceedings such as you may have an alternative if the judge denies cancellation. The government’s “prosecutorial discretion” program may be another way out. Under that program, immigration will defer deportation for undocumented immigrants here unless they have criminal records or a history of immigration violations. Still, I don’t recommend that undocumented readers turn themselves into immigration until they have spoken to an immigration law expert.
Q My six-year-old niece needs medical treatment unavailable in her home country. How can I bring her here? I’m a permanent resident. My niece cannot speak due to a medical condition. I believe that if I can get her to the United States before it is too late, doctors here could help her.
Burkina Faso, Bronx
A Your niece can apply for a visitor’s visa for medical purposes at a U.S. consulate in her country. If that doesn’t work, she can apply to the USCIS for humanitarian parole. Humanitarian parole is available to individuals who do not qualify for any other visa but who need to come here because of extreme need. USCIS grants humanitarian parole in rare and especially deserving cases only. To apply for humanitarian parole for your niece, file USCIS form I-131, Application for Travel Document and Form I-134, Affidavit of support. You should hear back in sixty to ninety days. With the application, you should provide evidence of your niece’s condition from a medical professional. Send also proof that you can support her and that you can pay for any needed medical care or that you have made other arrangements to reimburse doctors or hospitals for her care. Finally, you need a detailed statement from a doctor or other expert in her country explaining why she can’t get care there.
Q I’ve been missing your Wednesday columns. Does the News still publish them? I’ve been a Daily News Home Delivery subscriber for almost three years. The main reason being the sports pages. Second is because of your immigration column. I have missed seeing your column a few Wednesdays. Is it me or the News? I copy the articles and send them to my young nephew, an immigration lawyer in Pittsburgh. They are a big hit.
A Your ranking my column second to the Daily News’ great sports pages makes me proud. My regular publication days are Wednesday and Friday. Sometimes, I get bumped. When that happens, I use the column the next available Friday or Wednesday. Thanks being such a loyal reader.