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How can I legalize my status? DACA or New I-601A?

Scranton, PA |

I'm a 27 yr old Mexican. I have been in the US since age 3 & graduated H.S. here. I married the father of my 4 children last April, we have been together for 10 Yrs. He is a U.S born Citizen. I've never been in trouble with the law. What should I do to be able to legalize my status here? Should I apply for the DACA? What about the I-130 or the New I-601A?

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

I can't over emphasize the potential subjectivity of the "extreme hardhip" test requirement of the 601A; especially given that denial here could put you into proceedings under the new provsional waiver rule. The DACA on the other hand has no "extreme hardship" proof requirements, and as long as you meet the basic residency and education requirements and have no significant criminal record, this would be the way to go as a first step. AND, unlike the 601A, an approved DACA gets you a work permit and driver's license. I'd say start with the DACA so you don't have to worry about ICE knocking on your door at 4am anymore; and then have an experienced immigration lawyer walk through your bio data to get a better sense of the risks involved with the 601A.

Kevin Samuel Santos Sr.

Kevin Samuel Santos Sr.


Also, as long as you have no criminal record or immigration issues, have your USc husband file that I-130 NOW! You can do it as an initial step toward your green card down the road (whether you try the 601A or if something like the old 245(i) amnesty rule comes back). But more importanly, an approved I-130 establishes your marrital status within the immigration system for whatever happens down the road either to you (i.e. picked up by ICE) or generally (i.e. immigration reform): that receipt date on an approved I-130 (Petition of Alien Spouse) is gold once you get it. Give our office a call for a free consultation. (610)737-7761.


There's no reason why you couldn't pursue both as they provide different kinds of relief. You might have a surer chance of success with DACA but it doesn't get you any kind of permanent legal status. Just temporary permission to remain and work in the U.S. An I-130 and I-601A based on your marriage has the potential to get you that. But you have to show extreme hardship to your husband. Whether you have shown extreme hardship is a subjective judgment call, and so it is harder to predict whether you would be successful. I think you should hire a good immigration attorney to go through the options for you, make sure you're definitely eligible for both DACA and the I-601A waiver, and assist you in preparing whatever application you decide to file.

Christina Murdoch
Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.
105 W. Madison St., Suite 2200
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 444-1940
(312) 444-1950 (fax)
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I agree with attorney Murdoch. You can do both. DACA will give you some legal status for now so you can have a work document, and are not in danger of inminent deportation. The I-601(A) is a more long term solution to your immigration status to be able to get a green card, if you can satisfy all the requirements.


DACA is only temporary but the I-130, waiver and consular processing avenue leads to a green card. The permanent solution is the best. Contact an experienced immigration attorney for a thorough consultation and assessment.

The answer provided here is general in nature and does not take into account other factors that may need to be reviewed for a more precise answer. You should consult with an immigration attorney before taking any action. The answer here is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.