My ex-wife came to the US in 1996 on a travel visa with her daughter born in 1995, in the Netherlands. Her passport was from Ecuador, so both were considered Ecuadorian nationals. They stayed beyond their visa and were here illegally when we met. I married her in 1998 and both obtained conditional residency. After we were married the required number of years she obtained permanent residency status, but her daughters status remained conditional and has since, expired. Her daughter is now 17 and cannot enroll in college or work, without papers. What can be done to remedy this? Should her residency have been changed to permanent when her mothers did? I believe that the Dream Act, if passed would help, but is there anything that can be done now??? We are now divorced and I never legally adopted her but I am desperately trying to help her.
Usually the child's conditions on residence are lifted at the same time. It might be best to start with a FOIA for both of them to find out what was filed and what was approved. You might also have most of the documents so you could have an attorney review them and then develop a tailored strategy to help her. If all else fails the solution may be to naturalize her mother and then seek a status for her through her mother.
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I agree with my colleague. In the meantime, her daughter can look into applying for DACA. It's not a permanent fix, but it will get her a work permit for now and keep her from accruing unlawful status, which will start when she turns 18.
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If the child became a permanent resident at the same time or within 90 days of her mother, then the child should have been included in the mother's petition to remove the conditional basis of her residence (assuming the petition was properly prepared). If the above time frames are not satisfied then the child is required to file her own petition. If the mother's petition was approved then resolving the child's issue can be done but more facts are needed.
Consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can review the facts of the case in detail and advise you how best to proceed.
While this answer is provided by a Florida Bar Certified Expert in Immigration and Nationality Law, it is for general information purposes only and an attorney/client relationship is neither intended nor created. You should seek out qualified counsel to review your case and provide you with advice specific to your situation. Call +1-561-478-5353 to schedule a consultation with Mr. Devore.