If you have migrated to the United States of America through illegal means, then you can go through some serious punishment. These illegal means include incomplete documents etc. The immigration authorities can give you a harsh penalty if you are caught. You could end up being deported and/or even banned from ever coming to America again. It does not matter then if your family is still in America or not, you won’t be able to visit them.
Thus, if you are an illegal immigrant, then you must take immediate action to become a legal citizen. You must know that despite the strict laws, there is still a lot that can be done and given that you prove to be a trusted citizen and provide the nexessary documents, you can receive help from the authorities so that you are no longer an undocumented citizen.
Read the article to find out how an illegal immigrant can become legal. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 1 Receiving legal citizenship in America
- 2 How can an illegal immigrant become legal?
- 3 How to work as an illegal immigrant?
- 4 Can a company sponsor an illegal immigrant?
- 5 Conclusion
Receiving legal citizenship in America
Illegal immigrant and also often known as undocumented immigrants do not have many options for a legal citizenship. However, it does not mean that they cannot receive citizenship at all. Going through the proper channels and providing proper documentation will result in you becoming legal. Otherwise, the strict U.S immigration laws will have you pay the penalty.
Almost 62% of illegal immigrants are those who continue to stay in America even after their visa has expired, whereas 38% of these undocumented citizens are those who illegally crossed the northern or southern border. Irrespective of how you came to the United States, the consequences of being an illegal immigrant are the same; you will either be deported back to your country or banned from entering America again.
There are cases where some leverage can be granted, for example, in case of those applying for an asylum, oppressed and beaten women and children, victims of harsh human trafficking, and minors. However, apart from these few cases, most people are barred from entering the U.S. for a minimum of 3 years.
- 3-Year Bar To Re-Entry
Foreigners who are illegally present in the U.S. for almost 180 days and 1 year but left voluntarily are banned from entering the U.S.A for 3 years.
- 10-Year Bar To Re-Entry
If you have been living illegally in America for more than a year but leave according to your own will, then you are banned from entering the country for 10 years.
- Permanent Bar To Re-Entry
If you are facing a 10 year bar to re-entry but still try to enter the U.S.A through illegal means, then you will be subject to a permanent ban from entry.
How can an illegal immigrant become legal?
If you are an undocumented immigrant, then it is of paprmount importance that you immediately go to the authorities for the legalization process or else you could be deported. There are some ways through which you can become a legal citizen in America. These methods are given below:
If you are eligible to apply for an asylum, you should definitely go for it. However, when applying for an asylum you should remember to do it within one year of when you come to the States or the expiration of your approved stay.
Moreover, you will have to show some proof that you have been persecuted or that you might be tortured and oppressed in the future if you are sent back to your home country. These persecutions could depend on your religion, ethnicity, nationality, or political opinion/affiliations.
To apply for an asylum, you first have to fill the USCIS Form I-589, and also provide detailed documentation of proof that you are being persecuted in your own country.
Once you receive an asylum, you can apply for a green card in one year, and then for U.S. citizenship after four years. However, if your asylum is not approved, there are chances that you will be deported. This can be changed if you are able to show proof that you would be victim to torture when you return.
Marriage to a U.S citizen
What does an illegal immigrant need to get married in the U.S.A? If you are wondering as to what the answer to this question is, then read on.
Most of the time if you marry a U.S. citizen, then you are qualified to get a green card due to the ‘immediate relative’ status that you receive. However, this can only be the case if you enter a valid marriage which is not a shame. If your marriage is fake and solely for the sake of immigration, then the authorities will find out and you will be deported back to your country.
In addition to this, marriage to a U.S citizen will only be helpful if you entered the United States through legal means. However, if you entered through illegal means then you have very narrow chances to get a green card.
Temporary protected status
If your country has recently undergone a severe natural disaster, an environmental crisis, or a civil war, then you are eligible for a temporary protected status. Having temporary protected status does not mean that you will get a green card. You are only allowed to stay in the U.S.A for 18 months due to unsafe conditions in your country. Despite this, you can still get a work permit and research on options that may result in a permanent stay in America.
Service to the U.S military
A present or ex U.S. veteran who is an undocumented immigrant may may be eligible for aid. If you were a member of the U.S. military service while you were on U.S. territory then you can receive immediate citizenship. If you helped in any of the following conflicts, then you can apply for a permanent stay in America:
- The Korean War (June 25, 1950 to July 1, 1955)
- The Vietnam War (February 28, 1961 to October 15, 1978)
- The Persian Gulf War (August 2, 1990 to April 11, 1991)
- Operation Enduring Freedom (September 11, 2001 to present)
Cancellation of removal
The only way you can prevent removal and get a United States green card, in cases where the immigration authorities have arrested you, is if you can prove the following:
- that for the last ten years, you have been physically present in the U.S.
- That in those ten years, you have had a moral character and no criminal record.
- If you are deported from the U.S., then the entire situation would be very difficult for your spouse, parent, or child who is a U.S. citizen or a legal citizen.
- If you are not ineligible due a case of immigration offense or have oppressed anyone.
You should not go for cancellation of removal on your own. This is because only individuals who are being deported can apply for this. Moreover, you will definitely need a lawyer if you apply for cancellation of removal.
How to work as an illegal immigrant?
How are illegal immigrants able to get a job? In most cases they usually go from place to place to ask if there is a job opening. Mostly, giant corporations do not hire you if you don’t have the proper documentation. However, you can find a job in the small sectors.
It is quite simple to figure out which sectors employ undocumented immigrants. Moreover, you can also easily figure out the state these workers are in. The construction industry, field work, landscaping, slaughterhouses, hotels, and restaurants are all massive industries that hire illegal immigrants. However, it must not be assumed that these businesses only employ undocumented immigrants. Many legal citizens are also hired in these fields.
Can a company sponsor an illegal immigrant?
It can be very difficult to provide sponsorship to an illegal immigrant. A single worker will find it very hard to receive a green card even with the help of an employer. If the employer does want to sponsor the undocumented immigrant, then he would have to leave the US and deal with the case at a foreign consulate. This can happen if the employee
- entered the U.S. through illegal means
- entered legally but stayed even though their visa expired
- worked in the U.S. illegally
- unless the individual is an immediate relative of a U.S. citizen.
It is very hard for undocumented immigrants to live in a country especially if they have their family with them. Therefore, it is advised for you to immediately apply for citizenship. Now that you have read the article, you are aware of everything that you can do.