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U.S. immigration laws can be difficult to navigate

In previous posts, we have mentioned how complex the current United States immigration laws are. Individuals born in other countries who may initially seem to be perfect candidates to legally stay in the country, routinely find that they need to leave.

This week we focus on a young person who is taking steps to make sure she does not face deportation under the current immigration laws. The person in this case is a young woman, born in England, who currently resides with her family in a state in the Midwest. A resident of the U.S. since she was 4 years old, when she turns 21 next month, she plans to return to England. This is because when she attains that age she will no longer be in the U.S. legally under her parents' E-2 visa.

At first glance, she appears to be an ideal candidate to remain in the country via a deferred action request. Though she meets many of the criteria, such as having entered the country before turning 15, having resided in the country for more than five years, meeting the education requirement and being a law abiding citizen, she misses on one. By entering the U.S. on her parents' visa, does not meet the requirement of having entering the country without proper documentation.

By all accounts, this woman is the type of person most people would consider as an asset to the country. The recent college graduate, who attained her degree in dance with distinction, knows nothing, for all intents and purposes, of the country in which she was born. She essentially grew in Missouri with her younger sister and her parents, and even her grandparents live in the U.S. as naturalized citizens.

The woman's immigration issue is one that has been on the minds of her family since she was a child. When her grandparents applied for green cards for both she and her sister in September 2003, they assumed they would have been granted by now and that the young woman would be a legal, permanent resident. Instead, the current group of applicants receiving green cards applied in May 2002. All in the family hope the green cards will be granted before the woman's younger sister turns 21.

This young woman's situation illustrates just how complicated the immigration laws are in the U.S., and how important legal guidance in the matter is.

Source: The Kansas City Star, "Gap in policy forces woman to deport herself, reluctantly," Eric Adler, July 17, 2012

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