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Can I get legal status without leaving U.S.?

Honolulu, HI |

I came here as tourist but overstayed more than 1 year. I'm married to a Micronesian citizen. We have children born here in U.S. (Hawaii). My son is medically fragile and I'm his primary caregiver. Is there anyway for me to file somekind of petition to have legal status here without having to leave U.S.? My son needs to travel to U.S. mainland for treatment. I have lived here in U.S. (Hawaii) for 10 years. We are not in welfare and I can't take my son with me to my native country because he will lose his medical insurance (from my husband working place as primary insurance and Medicaid which he qualifies due to his condition). My son is U.S. citizen and will not receive benefits from my native country. I cannot leave him either since my husband has to work 2 jobs to support us.

I have letters from my son's doctor, home nurses, school director and pastor. I tried to file I-601 but was told at INS Office in Honolulu that I can't file that petition nor I-485 since my husband is only a habitual resident and my sons must be at least 21 years old in order to sponsor me. I am considering to turn myself in, I'm so tired of being afraid to get arrested front of my children and not having any kind of ID.

Attorney Answers 1


  1. This is a very tragic situation. You are correct that if your son were 21 he could petition for you.

    If you are placed in removal proceedings, you can apply for cancellation of removal as a non-permanent resident before an Immigration Judge as long as you have been physically present in the United States for at least 10 years, have good moral character (generally no criminal history), and can establish that your removal from the U.S. would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to your son or any other United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident immediate relative. This standard of proof is quite high, but depending on the gravity of your son's medical condition, your chances of success should increase. If the Immigration Judge finds that your son will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship if you were to be removed then you should be granted lawful permanent resident status.

    I hope this answers your question.

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