Are you or an immediate family member (meaning spouse, child or parent) undocumented? If so, you belong to a group of an estimated 16 million people in the United States who have “mixed-status” families. If so, know that you are not alone and you have options.
As immigration policy and enforcement continues to change, it is important to have a preparedness plan to provide for your family. Here are a few suggestions:
- Update and protect important documents for you and your family in one safe place, including family members that are lawful permanent residents or U.S. citizens. Make sure each family member has a valid passport and an original or certified birth certificate.
- Carry Documents that Might Protect You: Always carry a valid work permit or green card if you have one. Alternatively, carry a state identification card or valid driver’s license so long as it does not contain information about your immigration status. Always carry the telephone number of an immigration lawyer, accredited representative or nonprofit legal services you will call in an emergency. Always carry any valid Approval Notice for any application filed with the Immigration Office or Court.
- Consult with a reputable immigration attorney to discuss your options to obtain legal status, or alternatively, options if placed in court proceedings. Immigration law is constantly changing – there may be options available now that you did not know existed.
Don’t wait to start this important conversation with your family. Remember you are not alone so explore what options you have and set a plan in place.
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
Kelly S. O’Reilly
Kelly O’Reilly is a founding partner with Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC, and is a former District Adjudications Officer for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in Los Angeles and Orange County. As an officer, Mr. O’Reilly was given the responsibility for adjudicating Employment-based and Family-based applications for Lawful Permanent Residency, Requests for Travel, Work Authorization, and Waivers of Inadmissibility. He was also responsible for conducting Marriage Fraud Interviews and requests for Naturalization.
Rebecca Caporale is an Associate Attorney with Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC in the Sacramento office. Ms. Caporale’s immigration practice involves family-based immigration, non-immigrant visas, removal defense, litigation, and asylum law. Ms. Caporale graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and minor in Spanish. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
Marian Wright Edelman, Hope is Waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court, The Huffington Post (April 29, 2016, 3:32 PM EST), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marian-wright-edelman/hope-is-waiting-for-the-us_b_9810252.html.