Lawyers agree that illegal entry into the United States, without being inspected by a federal agent from CBP and then attempting to legalize residency, is “virtually impossible” and your options are “extremely limited.” Consulted by Univision News.
Anyway, can an illegal immigrant who entered across the border be legalized? This is not a frequent question, but some undocumented immigrants who have circumvented all border security systems and are now inside the country, want to know what they can do to obtain a legal residence permit.
Ronaldo is one of them. Via an email sent to our newsroom, he asked, “I’m a Salvadoran, an immigrant. I’d like to know if you could advise me to fight for my legal residence in the United States. I have a week of illegal entry. Waiting for your comments. Thanks.” .
We answer this and other questions about immigration that come to us in the Univision Noticias newsroom. You can send us yours to: [email protected]
The path is too narrow to remain in the United States for those who entered the country illegally
The legal options available to Ronaldo are limited, and it is almost impossible to obtain them. “The options for legal residence in the United States for this Salvadoran immigrant are very limited,” says Jaime Baron, an immigration attorney working in Dallas, Texas. The analysis was performed based on the small data you submitted in the question.
“One way could be asylum, having a US citizen or spouse of a lawful permanent resident. Or that you meet the requirements to apply for a visa as a victim of crime.” But he warns that in each case you have to provide evidence.
“The most important thing is to speak to a lawyer as quickly as possible, review your case, review the legal options available, and see if you have the right to remain in the United States,” Barron says. “But these are difficult cases that need to be handled with caution.”
Another option for non-US registered
says Alex Galvez, an immigration attorney who works in Los Angeles, California.
“If this is the case of this immigrant, he does not have to show that he was here before December 2000 to adjust his status within the United States, if he entered without documents and was not checked by any federal agent at the border,” he added.
However, Galvez noted that before any legal avenue is available, “the government will require evidence. It is the immigrant who bears the burden of evidence. “Without sufficient evidence, it is difficult to proceed with due process of law,” he said.
Asylum: a potential option for undocumented immigrants
For José Guerrero, an immigration attorney who practices in Miami, Florida, there is no immediate prospect. “If you have been in the country without documents for more than 10 years, have a spouse and children who are citizens or lawful permanent residents, if you are detained, you can ask an immigration judge to cancel the deportation.”
But this action is only required in immigration court if you are in detention and have not been registered in the United States for more than 10 years and do not have a criminal record.
“And it’s also not about going and doing the paperwork in court, and they have to detain you and put you through deportation.”
Guerrero also cited the affirmative asylum option. This process takes place in front of the Immigration Service and not in court. But you should seek legal advice to fill out and submit the documents. and provide evidence to justify this claim of human benefit to available immigration.”
“To apply for asylum, you have a period of one year from the moment of your illegal entry into the country,” he added.
What does the government say about the illegal presence in the United States
USCIS says that an alien, pursuant to Section 212(a)(9)(b)(2) of the INA, accumulates illegally if:
You are in the United States without being accepted or released; or
Remained in the United States after the end of the period of residence authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
It warns against it Illegal entry into the country restricts most of the immigration benefits available, Except as stated by attorneys, this is recourse, seeking protection as a victim of a crime or adjusting status through Section 245(i).
Information to learn more about the status of an illegal immigrant in the United States
Ronaldo’s question only asks if there are options to legalize residency after receiving a successful undocumented entry just a week ago.
But lawyers cautioned that this does not show the “background or history” of the immigrant who asked the question.
The list of questions includes:
- Have you lived without documents in the United States before?
- Have you ever been deported?
- If you were deported, why were you deported?
- Do you have a criminal record in your country of origin?
- Do you have a criminal record in the United States?
- Have you ever signed a voluntary departure order and did not follow it?
- Do you have first-degree relatives (husband, wife or children) who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States?
- Do you have a reason to seek asylum? (If you have been persecuted because of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or because of your political opinions.)
“All of these responses help to get a more comprehensive view of the case in order to provide appropriate legal advice,” they agree with lawyers consulted by Univision News.
The undocumented crossing into the United States at the end of 2016 was about 55,000 successful transits per year. Between 2017 and 2018, it increased 11 percentage points, according to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data. There are no data at this time from fiscal years 2019 to 2021.
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