A little knowledge can be dangerous

A little knowledge can be dangerous

Despite having only limited knowledge or understanding of immigration laws, some people attempt to strategize and handle their immigration case on their own. They follow the advice of friends or relatives or listen to gossip or rumors they hear on the streets or at parties.

Partial or incomplete information about immigration law and benefits can have devastating effects, resulting in denials, deportation, or many additional years of separation from your family.

Recently, a woman came to my office for assistance for her daughter, who was refused a visa because the daughter had “aged out.” The woman wanted to know if her daughter was eligible under the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA). After doing the mathematical computation, the daughter was considered mathematically over 21 and not CSPA eligible. As a result, the mother will need to file a new petition for her daughter, which could take another 10 years before the daughter can finally immigrate to the US. Had they obtained proper legal advice from an attorney at the outset, both this woman and her daughter could have been in the US as far back as 1995! Instead, by relying on partial information, the daughter now must wait again for decades to immigrate.

In this woman’s case, she was single, and was petitioned by her US citizen mother in 1994, just after the mother had naturalized. Assuming the mother got her green card in 1989 (five years before her naturalization in 1994), the mother could have already filed a petition for her, as a single adult child of a green card holder parent (F-2B), the F-2B would have included the daughter. Instead, the family thought it would be “faster” to wait for the mother to become a US citizen and then file the petition. That is wrong!

Had the mother filed an F-2B petition for this woman while the mother was still an immigrant in 1989, visas would have been available for both the woman and her daughter as far back as 1995. Instead, by waiting until the mother naturalized, and only then filing a petition, by the time the priority date became current, the daughter had already aged out.

My point is that people think, “What’s so difficult about petitioning a family member? I can just do it on my own, because it is simple and straightforward.” But there may be faster ways to bring family members to the US, which a person may not be fully aware of. Instead, they rely on partial information, which, as you can see from the above example, can have devastating effects. That is why you should consult with an attorney, who can evaluate your situation, to make sure you are going the fastest, most direct route, to accomplish your immigration goal.

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