DEADLINE LOOMING FOR IMMIGRATION PETITIONS?

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By David Sperling

If you are a U.S. Citizen or have a Green Card, do you have an adult  son or daughter who is either undocumented or living in their home country?  Or, if you are a Citizen, do you have parents or siblings who live in their home country?

If so, you may have only a short time left to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative.

President Trump recently announced “four pillars” of an immigration framework that would provide a 12-year path to citizenship for minors brought to the United States before June 15, 2007.

The other “pillars” are increased border enforcement, an end to the diversity-visa  lottery, and the dismantling of the family-visa system  to prevent so-called “chain migration.”

Trump proposes to eliminate the categories of  adult children of U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents, as well as brothers and sisters of U.S. Citizens.  The only remaining categories will be spouses, parents and  minor children of adult U.S. Citizens and minor children of Legal Permanent Residents.

There is no way to know at this point the outcome of congressional legislation.  However, it is a safe bet that the lowest-priority visa category — brothers and sisters of adult U.S. Citizens — will soon be eliminated.

I would strongly recommend that any U.S. Citizen with brothers and sisters in their home country consider filing a petition immediately.   Why immediately? Because U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will almost certainly honor petitions that are pending at the time the category is eliminated. 

(In virtually all cases, it would be a waste of time and money for a U.S. Citizen to file for a sibling who is in the United States without authorization. That is because the beneficiary would be required to leave the United States to pursue consular processing and would face a 10-year bar to re-entry without the possibility of a waiver.)

A sibling petition had the added benefit of providing derivative status to spouses and children under the age of 21 when the case is approved. That means a sibling with very young children could come to the United States with their families intact.

The current waiting period for this petition is more than 12 years, but any immigration reform would almost certainly reduce the backlog of family petitions.

The same reasoning applies to other categories at risk.  The filing fee for an I-130 Petition is only $535.

Filing a petition now could be one of your best investments in the future.

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