From your description, it sounds like you clearly reside outside of the US, and it is very likely that your Permanent Resident status will be considered abandoned, even if you made two visits to the US for a few weeks each time since 2009.
If and when you do decide to come to live permanently in the United States again, you will basically need to start the green card process anew. Your wife will need to file a new I-130 for you, and you will eventually need to appear at a US consulate overseas for interview before being granted an immigrant visa to return to the US as a Permanent Resident. If you plan to travel to the US prior to that and want to apply for a tourist visa or other nonimmigrant (temporary) visa, or before you decide to apply anew for Permanent Residence, it is probably advisable to inform the government that you are no longer a Permanent Resident. Reason being that you want to "clean up the record" and avoid any possible future accusation that you traveled to the US using your green card when they shouldn't have let you -- or that when you apply for a new green card, they might deny it because in their records you are still already a Permanent Resident. More information about that process at this link:
Before you take that pretty drastic step, however, of officially abandoning all the work and money you spent to get your green card the first time, I strongly recommend that you schedule a consultation with an immigration attorney to go over all the specific facts of your case in much greater detail -- to help you determine if that is indeed the best strategy.See question
It is definitely worth your while to consult with an experienced immigration attorney, because you may well qualify. The U-visa is basically a two-step process. First, a law enforcement agency, prosecutor, or judge must certify that you have been the victim of one of a specific list of crimes, that you have knowledge relating to the crime, and that you have been or will be helpful to the investigation and/or prosecution of the crime. The second step involves submitting the application for the actual visa to the immigration agency USCIS. From our experience, whether or not you reported the crimes to the police / sheriff department will be a key factor in that first step -- getting the certification signed.
A final tip: I highly recommend finding an immigration attorney in your local area (looks like Fort Collins), or at least one who has done U-visa cases in that community before -- because they will know the right people to contact at the relevant local law enforcement agencies.
You can make that request, but you need to apply for something called Advance Parole using USCIS Form I-131. It also has to be for one of these three specific reasons that you need to travel: educational, employment, or humanitarian purposes.
As for the residency question, yes, travel and return on DACA-related Advance Parole will indeed permit you to apply for residency here in the US through a process called Adjustment of Status, even if your previous entry into the US was illegal -- but only if you qualify otherwise (for example, if you would be married to a US citizen). We just won a case very much like that -- to the best of our knowledge, the first such case in Colorado. I'd very strongly recommend working with an experienced immigration attorney on this type of case -- and make sure that whoever you work with thoroughly reviews your immigration history and any criminal history (if any).See question
Given the facts that you describe here, that seems like an unreasonable delay. USCIS offices are backlogged, but it certainly shouldn't take them that long to deal with a simple RFE like that. FYI, calling the 1-800 number or logging in to the USCIS case status website really won't give you accurate information. I would recommend consulting with an immigration attorney that is local to your area and knows the best way to contact the appropriate official at your local office. (I'm in Colorado, so I don't know your local California office and therefore won't offer my services.)
I can tell you that any reputable immigration attorney should not charge you much to make the inquiry and help you be the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Unfortunate reality is that often USCIS field offices will pay much more attention to an inquiry from an attorney than from an applicant without an attorney. I also recommend that whatever attorney you work with, check that he/she is a member of AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers' Association). AILA attorneys have access to the most current and best information to contact local USCIS office staff.See question
Were you already over 18 at the time that you applied for Deferred Action? Providing this additional information will assist the attorneys answering your question to determine if you have any potential inadmissibility issues. In general, though, even if you were already over 18, you should have not problems returning on Advance Parole because of the two recent cases mentioned by Ms. Ryan above -- I agree with her analysis.See question
Yes, USCIS will deny a petition of yours directly for your stepdaughter, because she was over 18 when your married her mother. However, there may be other options for you to assist her. For example, if she is in the United States she may be eligible for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Alternatively, you may be able to obtain legal status for your wife who could then petition for your stepdaughter (preferably before the stepdaughter turns 21). I would recommend speaking with an experienced immigration attorney to examine the specific details of your family's situation, because there may still be options available to you. Our office is located in Colorado Springs and we would be glad to evaluate your case.See question
I second most of what Ms. Ryan answered. In particular, I would begin by making an INFOPASS appointment through https://infopass.uscis.gov/
It's quite simple (and free) to make the appointment at your nearest USCIS office (in your case, Centennial, CO on the south side of Denver). I would take your passport and visa (or Border Crossing Card if that's what you used) to the appointment. With that plus the date of your entry, the officer should hopefully be able to inform you whether there is a lawful record of entry. This could save you the fees of filing an I-102 for a new paper I-94. If you already know that USCIS will be able to confirm your lawful entry at the time when you apply to adjust status, then you can be fairly confident that you'll be able to satisfy that requirement for adjustment. I would consult an immigration attorney before attempting to adjust, however, because many other factors can impact the outcome of an adjustment of status case, not just whether you entered lawfully.
As the other responders mentioned, crimes committed in another country can certainly impact your ability to do Adjustment of Status here - i.e., they can make you "inadmissible."
However, if there was no accusation that you were selling (so that the US government would have no "reason to believe" you were trafficking a controlled substance), and if you never admitted possession of cannabis in any court or official proceeding, you might still be able to adjust.
That said, this is a case where it is worth consulting a lawyer to discuss your case in much more detail, to determine whether you would placing yourself at risk by applying to adjust status.
Our immigration law office is located in Colorado Springs. Feel free to call us at 719-260-7900 and speak with one of our staff members to schedule a consultation.See question
From the information that you've provided, that conviction alone would be unlikely to result in your deportation. Disorderly conduct and/or simple assault generally do not fall under what are known as criminal grounds of deportability.
However, depending on any other prior criminal history that you may have, and on the exact charges for which you were convicted, it may nevertheless be wise for you to consult with an immigration attorney. My recommendation would be to first contact the court where you got that conviction, and request a copy of what is usually known as the "disposition" (the final result) of your case from the court clerk. Bring that to any immigration attorney with whom you might consult, so that he/she can give you accurate, informed advice.See question
Definitely use the checklist provided above to guide you. I would certainly include any certificate from that CPR class in late June, along with any evidence that you have that you were in the US in early June. USCIS has made clear through the guidance that it has issued over the past few months that while they are requiring people to prove physical presence, you don't need to prove every single day or even month of the years since June 15, 2007, or have evidence specifically from June 15, 2012. I would also include a letter from the folks you babysat for -- it can certainly help to support your claim to have been here on that day. And turning any letter into an affidavit is simple -- just have the person writing the letter wait to sign it until they can do so in the presence of a notary public who will notarize it. But even if you don't get it notarized, a letter like that can still be helpful.
I also second the other responders' comments that it's worth it for you to consult with an attorney about this process. They can make sure that your forms are done correctly, that you have strong supporting evidence, and that there's not some other reason (e.g. certain criminal or traffic convictions) that could cause you problems.See question