Think before you act

US IMMIGRATION NOTES - Atty. Marco F.G. Tomakin (The Freeman) - June 2, 2019 - 12:00am

This week I found myself in a middle of a client's family drama. I consciously avoid to be entangled in such situations, but in this case it was necessary that I lend some advice.

The scenario was this; a husband and wife came to the US with their children on a tourist visa. After a few months, the husband was able to obtain a greencard which also included the wife as his beneficiary. For some odd reason, their children were not included in the petition and were not able to obtain their own greencards. Now the children are already 19 and 20 years old and, with their expired period of authorized stay, has been here in the US without any legal status. Naturally, the children have very limited options as they cannot go to school or be employed. Their situation has left them estranged from their parents, and now they want to go back to the Philippines despite their parents' protestations.

This is why I found myself in the middle of the chaos.

As I explained to the children, it would be such a dumb move if they go back to the Philippines. Because of their overstay for more than one year, they are already barred from entering the US for 10 years, and even if they have already stayed outside the US for such a length of time, it is not automatic that they will be readmitted after 10 years.

Also, once they leave the US, there are only limited options that we can take. However, if they are here in the US, there are certain remedial actions that we can initiate either through the USCIS or before the administrative and court proceedings.

In short, staying in the US and taking steps to correct their status are the best options they can take rather than going back to the Philippines with no clear assurance of ever being allowed to come back to the US again.

Thus, before you make such drastic moves, make sure you think things through. As in these children's case, the future is so wide open for them that a well-informed and enlightened decision should be made.

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