My name is Danielle Diaz. One of the things I've learned in life, both inside and outside the courtroom, is that it is important to not see others as your enemy. Even though you may see the prosecutor as your enemy, he or she is just trying to do a job. It may be possible that you can get a prosecutor or the judge to be sympathetic and get him or her on your side. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand the law. I feel that most individuals do not understand the law, which is why I was motivated to create this blog.
There are many benefits of serving in the United States Armed Forces, including the ability to apply for legal immigration status for immediate family members who are not citizens of the United States—even if they are currently in the US illegally. If you are a service member and this describes one of your immediate family members, here's what you need to know about how to get your immigrant family member to become a legal permanent resident of the United States or have a lawful presence status.
1. Understand Service Member's Requirements
The US government wants to permit your family member undocumented immigrant to live in the United States as a gesture of thanks for serving in the US military. Your status needs to be one of the following:
You will also be required to show proof of your military service and documentation of the familial connection to the person you want to become a legal immigrant, such as them being listed as your father on your birth certificate or your spouse being listed on your marriage certificate. Other requirements can be found here.
2. Understand the Two Options
Legally, someone who wants to apply for permanent residency in the US would have to go to the consulate's office in their home country to start the process which can take a long time. However, those who entered the country illegally and have an immediate family member who meets the above requirements can apply for what is called parole in place. This basically means they can legally stay in the US in one-year increments. Speak with a family immigration lawyer if you need help navigating the documents and court processes so you can apply for parole in place status for your family member.
If, after speaking with your lawyer you find that parole in place is not an option, you can then apply for deferred action. This status is given in two-year increments and essentially means that your family member will not be removed or deported while they have the protected status of deferred action. It's important to note that deferred action does not give your family member a legal status or a path to citizenship. Instead, it gives your family member a lawful presence status, which means not worrying about being deported during the specified two-year timeframe.