Under the present law, anyone who entered the US illegally cannot adjust for status in the US. However, if they entered legally, ie on a visitor’s etc, and then overstayed, they can still adjust for status if they married a US Citizen, even though they have no valid status anymore. However love does not make this distinction. People who entered US illegally, fall in love with citizens, marry and have children. If they had to become citizens, they would have to return to their home countries and wait for a waiver. The law dictated that if people who are illegal leaves the US, they would not be allowed in for 3 or 10 years depending on the length of their illegal stay. The CIS and State Department had the power to waive this requirement due to hardship. However this process took a long time, and there was no guarantee of success. So the illegal spouse would have to leave their spouse and children , go back and wait forever for the mercy of the US Consulate.
Thus we could not advise clients in good faith to do this. And the spouse remained illegal. That spouse could not work, have health insurance or any other types of insurances. Even though their spouse as US Citizen was paying taxes, they would have to live as a second class inhabitants.
On Friday the Obama administration announced that they would ameliorate the situation by making those waivers (known as 601 waivers, faster and perhaps easier. That would keep the family intact and not treat a member differently than the rest of the family. However, the pro family Republican party has accused the President of using back door methods to grant amnesty.
We would like to advise people caught in this situation to wait right now until further regulations are issued before they decide what their next step would be.
Contact Houston Immigration Lawyer, or Houston Immigration Attorney Annie Banerjee, for more information