Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘green card’

Dreamers Under the Age of 21 May Be Eligible For Green Cards

Yesterday, I noted on twitter that it is probably a good idea for young people to retain competent counsel if they are applying for deferred action, even if the application process “appears” to be simple. Why? Primarily because there is an inherent risk of deportation. Deferred Action is not law. It is a declaration from the Executive Branch that can be reversed overnight with another declaration.

There are other compelling reasons to retain, or at least consult with, counsel. Unknown to much of the public, and even many immigration attorneys, is a form of relief called “Special Immigrant Juvenile Status,” (SIJS) which if obtained, gives an immigrant the opportunity to adjust their status to that of lawful permanent resident. A real “legalization”.

One positive outcome that I have seen so far from the Deferred Action announcement is increased interest and activity among immigrant youth who are looking to improve their life and that of their families. Many young people who inquire about deferred action will also be eligible for SIJS. If a young immigrant is eligible for SIJS, applying for Deferred Action would be dangerous as well as a waste of time and money.

A similar scenario happened with a consultation at our office. A young woman called to inquire about deferred action. She was not eligible. However, we soon discovered that she had a strong case for SIJS, a real and permanent legalization.


The basic requirements in order to be eligile for SIJS are as follows:

Children under the age of twenty-one who are unmarried and have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both parents.

In order to obtain SIJS, an applicant must first go to family court to request a motion for special findings.* If the applicant is successful in family court, they can then petition the Department of Homeland Security to be classified as a “Special Immigrant Juvenile” with the I-360 form. Once the I-360 form is approved, the applicant can then petition to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

IMPORTANT: To qualify, the applicant’s I-360 must be filed (i.e. date of receipt by immigration) before he/she reaches the age of 21.

SIJS, unlike Deferred Action, is certainly more legally complicated, especially given that  the applicant has to go to Family Court and either to the Immigration Court or USCIS.

The good news, however, is that many non-profit organizations, such as The Door, or The Child Advocacy Clinic at Hofstra, are dedicated  to representing young immigrants.

We also have a substantial amount of SIJS cases and have not lost one yet. Depending on who the family court judge is, a SIJS case can be relatively straightforward or extremely complicated.

Given the above, any deferred action dreamer under the age of 21 who does not have a good relationship with one or both of their parents should consult with an attorney experienced in Special Immigrant Juvenile cases to see if they are eligible. Far too many kids have aged out of this form of relief simply out of ignorance (of both the kids AND the legal community).


Obtaining Residency Based on “Cancellation of Removal”

It is well-known that certain immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least ten years and have a Legal Permanent Resident or U.S.
citizen spouse, children or parent may be able to obtain their green card.  However, there is a lot of misunderstanding about this
important remedy, called “Cancellation of Removal.”  Here are some key points:

1.      You can only apply for this relief in Immigration Court.  Unlike some simpler green card applications, where you can apply before U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services directly, this remedy is only available before a Judge.  Therefore, a person has to be in removal
(or deportation) proceedings to apply.  If someone is not already in removal proceedings, he can place himself in removal proceedings, but
this is only recommended when the case is very strong, because the alternative is a deportation order.

2.      The law requires “exceptional and extreme hardship” to family.  The standard to win these types of cases is usually higher than people
think.  You have to show that your removal from the United States would cause hardship to your family that is much more extreme than to
an average immigrant family.  The hardship could be financial, medical, or emotional.  For example, if you are a single parent of
four children, or the parent of a disabled or very sick child, it may be worth the risk to place yourself in removal proceedings to apply
for this relief.

3.      The ten-year presence rule.  There are some people who have been in the U.S. for more than ten years who will be barred from this remedy.
For example, if you received a Notice to Appear to immigration court before you accumulated ten years in the U.S., your time will stop
accruing and will not be able to attain ten years of physical presence required under the law.

If you had court proceedings or were ordered removed in the past, this may bar you depending on the circumstances.  Also
remember: even if you were in the U.S. for ten years, it will be your burden to prove that through documents (not just statements from
people) such as medical records, bank statements, receipts, etc.

4.      If you were ever arrested… you must consult with an experienced lawyer who will be able to tell you how your arrests will affect your
case.  You should always be honest with your lawyer, because it is not possible to win this case without having your fingerprints checked by
the FBI.  You should never underestimate any arrest because the immigration law can be very unforgiving.  Two convictions for petty theft, for example, could bar you from getting your green card.

5.      If you entered illegally, you still qualify.  Whether you entered the United States without documentation, or with a visa, you remain
eligible to apply for this remedy.  This is great news because so many other remedies are not available to illegal entrants. The bottom line is that if you have been in the United States for ten years or more, and have a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident spouse, child, or parent, you may be eligible and should consult with an experienced immigration lawyer to thoroughly assess your legal situation.  While these are some basic guidelines, you should not make the assessment on your own.

(C) 2012 Amoachi and Johnson, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.



Es bien sabido que ciertos inmigrantes que han vivido en los EE.UU. por lo menos durante diez años y tienen un cónyuge, hijos o padres ciudadanos o tienen residencia legal permanente en los EE.UU, podrían obtener su tarjeta verde.

 Sin embargo, hay muchos malentendidos acerca de este recurso importante, llamado “Cancelación de Remoción”. Éstos son algunos de los puntos clave:

1. Sólo puede aplicar a este beneficio en la Corte de Inmigración.

A diferencia de algunas otras solicitudes más simples para la tarjeta verde, donde se pueden aplicar ante los Servicios de Ciudadanía e Inmigración de EE.UU. directamente, este recurso sólo está disponible ante un juez.

Por lo tanto, una persona tiene que estar en proceso de Remoción (o deportación) para aplicar. Si alguien no está en proceso de remoción, puede situarse a sí mismo en un proceso de deportación, pero esto sólo se recomienda cuando el caso es muy fuerte, porque la alternativa es una orden de deportación.

2. La ley exige “dificultad excepcional y extrema” para la familia.

El estándar para ganar este tipo de casos suele ser mayor de lo que las personas piensan. Usted tiene que demostrar que su deportación de los Estados Unidos causaría penurias a su familia que es mucho más extrema que la de promedio de una familia de inmigrantes.

La dificultad podría ser financiera, médica, o emocional. Por ejemplo, si usted es un padre soltero de cuatro hijos, o el padre de un niño discapacitado o muy enfermo, es posible que valga la pena el riesgo de colocarse en proceso de expulsión para aplicar para este beneficio.

3. La regla de los diez años de presencia.

Hay algunas personas que han estado en los EE.UU. por más de diez años a quienes se les negará este beneficio. Por ejemplo, si usted recibió una notificación para comparecer ante la corte de inmigración antes de que acumule diez años en los EE.UU., el tiempo no se acumulará más y no será capaz de alcanzar presencia física de diez años de acuerdo a la ley.

Si usted tuvo procesos judiciales o una orden de expulsión en el pasado, esto puede obstruirle dependiendo de las circunstancias.

También recuerde: incluso si usted estuvo en los EE.UU. durante diez años, será su responsabilidad demostrarlo a través de documentos (no sólo las declaraciones de personas), tales como expedientes médicos, estados de cuenta bancarios, recibos, etc.

4. Si usted fue arrestado alguna vez…

usted debe consultar a un abogado experimentado que será capaz de decirle cómo sus arrestos afectarán su caso. Usted siempre debe ser honesto con su abogado, porque no es posible ganar este caso sin tener sus huellas digitales controladas por el FBI.

Nunca se debe subestimar ningún arresto debido a que la ley de inmigración puede ser muy implacable. Dos condenas por el robo menor de tienda, por ejemplo, le impedirá obtener su tarjeta verde.

5. Si usted entró ilegalmente, todavía califica.

Ya sea que usted ingresó a los Estados Unidos sin documentación o con una visa, usted sigue siendo elegible para aplicar para este beneficio. Esta es una gran noticia, porque muchos otros recursos no están disponibles para los inmigrantes ilegales.

La conclusión es que si usted ha estado en los Estados Unidos por diez años o más, y tiene un cónyuge ciudadano de EE.UU. o residente legal permanente, hijo, padre o madre, usted puede ser elegible y debe consultar con un abogado de inmigración con experiencia para evaluar a fondo su situación legal.

Si bien éstas son algunas pautas básicas, usted no debe hacer la evaluación por su cuenta.

Para mas información 

por favor llamar a Amoachi & Johnson, PLLC al Tel.:
631-647-9701 o visítenos en nuestras oficinas 2115 Union Blvd. Bay Shore, NY 11706


Bay Shore, Brentwood, Central Islip, New York, Suffolk County, Nassau County, Hempstead, Immigration, Green Card, Deportation, Permanent Residency

(C) 2012 Amoachi and Johnson, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.