This question is typical of the rumors, or gossip within the immigrant community regarding eligibility for legal residency as we are frequently asked the same questions.
What a lot of immigrant mistakenly believe is that once you have stayed for over 10 years and you have a U.S. citizen child, then you are automatically eligible for residency. This stems from the misunderstanding of the Cancellation of Removal Application that a very few immigrants have received, however, more in the past that currently as the standard was dramatically increased under IIRIRA in 1996.
Currently, to obtain Cancellation of Removal, the alien must be in deportation proceedings, have the required 10 years of good residency (i.e., no criminal convictions, paid taxes, etc.), have the qualifying U.S. relative, child born in the U.S., and the judicial determination that removal would constitute an "Extraordinary Hardship" to the qualifying USC. This is a very high and difficult standard to meet and the risk of placing someone into deportation proceedings just to try and meet this extraordinary standard is one we do not normally take in our law practice.
Stanley Dale Radtke, Esq.
220 Montgomery Street, Suite 416
San Francisco, CA 94104