I am an Illegal Immigrant brought here as a child from Mexico and have been here my whole life, I am married to a US Citizen and am wondering what path would be the best for us to take. Should my husband try to claim me or should I try to apply for the Dream Act?
You both have a tough choice to make! There are benefits to your husband sponsoring you; however, you will likely need to request a waiver for being in the country without permission. Qualifying for that is not as easy as it sounds though. Please feel free to contact me to set up an appointment.
I would look at both Deferred Action and the Provisional Waiver (depending on your criminal history). Here is why: with Deferred Action approved you can apply for a travel document. Then with the Provisional Waiver, when you leave for your interview you already have a way to get back into the country should something jump up and surprise you at your interview. Another alternative MIGHT (stress that because it is yet undecided and you don't want to be the test case) be to get Deferred Action, then get a travel document, leave, come back, and then adjust status (because then you are married to a U.S. citizen AND you have a legal entry). Interesting set of facts and options that you have...again...as always, talk to an immigration attorney giving him or her your specific set of facts prior to acting on anything.
When your husband applies for you it will lead eventually to a green card and permanent residency. The Dream Act (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals - DACA) is still not law but as put into effect by the government allows for only a temporary reprieve from removal. DACA is temporary. Husband is permanent.
A immigrant visa petition filed by your husband has the potential to provide you with a green card. However, you will not be able to adjust your status in the United States if you entered the United States without inspection unless you a grandfathered under INA 245(i). You will eventually need to depart the United States and apply for your immigrant visa overseas. When you depart the United States, you will likely trigger a bar to admission. There is now a process called the provisional waiver, which allows individuals who cannot adjust status in the United States to apply for the waiver prior to departing the United States.
On the other hand, the Dream Act has not been enacted. I presume you are referring to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA will provide you with a stay of removal for a period of two years and employment authorization, but it does not provide you with a path to a green card.
You would be best advised to discuss the matter with an experienced immigration matter.
The best course of action for you depends on your personal situation. DACA offers a very valuable temporary solution for childhood arrivals. An individual might want to begin with DACA because it is relatively quick and inexpensive and provides one with the right to work in the United States. With DACA approval, an individual would be able to wait to see whether immigration reform will be passed and whether that immigration reform will be helpful in his or her situation.
In fact there is uncertainty with any immigration procedure. I recommend that you have a thorough discussion with an immigration attorney.
Perhaps you should seek Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and keep an eye on immigration reform this year. DACA will allow you to get employment authorization and from that you can get a SS card and a driver's license. In all honesty, you should meet with an immigration attorney to fully explore the facts of your case to determine whether you are eligible to adjust your status in the U.S., and, if not, whether you can establish hardship for a waiver.
You definitely need to speak to a qualified immigration attorney. I know you stated you are an illegal immigrant, but how did you enter? If you entered with a visa then you have the option of adjusting status in which case, you will not need to apply for benefits under DACA. However, if you entered illegally, then I would begin the immigration visa process and simultaneously apply for benefits under the so called dream act. The immigrant visa process can take up to a year and that includes the time you will wait while your provisional waiver for unlawful presence is pending. I'll repeat this, see an experienced Immigration Lawyer and he can provide more details.
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