Many foreigners who come to work in the United States legally bring their families, a spouse and minor children. Once a minor child turns 21 and is a legal adult, they “age out” of their immigration status. Often these immigrants have spent their entire life in the United States and have been educated here, but when they turn 21 they are no longer protected as dependents under their parent’s status. As the backlog of green card processing continues to grow, aging out of immigration status is becoming a bigger and bigger problem for many so-called ‘documented dreamers.’
Children who were brought to the United States legally are not eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status unless his or her legal status was expired on June 15, 2012. Dreamers, the nickname for those with DACA status, is reserved for undocumented children who were brought to the US.
An organization called Improve the Dream is petitioning members of Congress to pass a proposed law that would give “documented Dreamers” a chance to become permanent residents of the US. To qualify, individuals must
• have lived in the United States for at least 10 years on a valid visa
• have graduated from a US institution of higher education
The bipartisan America’s CHILDREN Act would protect Documented Dreamers from aging out of legal immigration status at 21. Sponsored by U.S. Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Deborah Ross (NC-02), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), and Young Kim (CA-39), the proposed law would provide “legal status for over 200,000 children and young adults who are living in the United States as dependents of long-term nonimmigrant visa holders (including H-1B, L-1, E-1, and E-2 workers).”
Bill co-sponsor Illinois Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said,
“The children of long-term visa holders have grown up in the United States, embracing the American Dream as their own, but the current failures of our immigration system forces them to leave before they have the chance to start their own careers and families here. I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to provide a pathway for these young people to continue contributing to our nation while building their own American success stories.”
Student Visa Often Are Not An Option
Some teens who know they will age out of the immigration system apply for a student visa as a way to temporarily remain in the US. But for many immigrant teens, it can be difficult to get a student visa. Student visa applicants must be able to demonstrate they plan to leave the US after their education, and don’t plan to stay permanently in the United States. This can be difficult for teens who have spent their life and been educated in the United States.
Are you aging out of immigration status and want to apply for legal status and protection?
An experienced Dreamer lawyer can explain the new policy developments around U.S. immigration laws and how they might affect your and your family’s situation. Knowledge of the legal system is a powerful tool to protect people from deportation. To discuss your situation, call 630-912-0322 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced DACA attorneys today.
Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Lake Counties.