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Thread by @HMAesq: ""Why don't they just come legally?" A HYPOTHETICAL CASE STUDY 35 year old Dreamer, DACA expiring Mar 2018. Came to US with parents at age 4. […]" #DACA #DreamAct #dedocumented

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"Why don't they just come legally?"

A HYPOTHETICAL CASE STUDY

35 year old Dreamer, #DACA expiring Mar 2018. Came to US with parents at age 4. No criminal record. Never left US.
Goes to see an immigration lawyer his family's been working with for years.

Privileged, because most cannot afford counsel. Though they're "lawbreakers," the government doesn't provide them lawyers.

Let's figure out how to help our Dreamer!
"Leave and come back legally."

Leaving will trigger a 10 year bar to reentry. A waiver (forgiveness) exists, but our Dreamer doesn't qualify. He has no kids or spouse who are US citizens or green card holders. An uncle is, but that doesn't help.
"Afraid to go back? File for asylum!"

General fear of return is insufficient to win asylum. It must be on very particular grounds. Despite being federal, asylum law doesn't operate the same in all states. Failure to win asylum results in being placed in removal proceedings.
And that's if Dreamer had no prior contact with ICE.

"Just wait for the law to change."

Probably the best advice so far; "best" being relative. In the meantime, can't go to school, work legally, or drive. The #DreamAct has failed for 17 years and counting.
"Get married!"

And set down deeper roots into a country refusing to let him stay?

Even if he did, he still needs to win a waiver and return home to reenter. That waiver wasn't allowed to be filed inside the US until 2013.

And still need to show hardship to USC spouse.
"Don't you have TPS?"

Only some Dreamers do; depends on their country. But this is being taken away by the administration, determined to leave #dedocumented as many immigrants as possible.
"Go talk to immigration."

Or, serve yourself up to ICE. Not a good idea. They're not there to help. You're on your own, buddy. No lawyer neither.
"Ever been a crime victim? Maybe you can get a U Visa."

No, thank God. So no visa for me?

Nope.

Wait...I remember one time my work permit and valid SSN were stolen. I spent months fixing it. Does that count?

No. Not a qualifying crime. Sorry.
"Get your employer to sponsor you."

Can't do it with more than 6 months of unlawful presence. Can't leave and come back because of 10 year bar. Employer has to test labor market first and give job to qualified US workers first.
"I'm from El Salvador. I've saved up $120k. Can't I invest and create a business that'll hire US workers?"

No. El Salvador isn't on the treaty investor country list.

"I'm from Honduras. Can I?"

No. Honduras is on the list but unlawful presence prevents you from getting a visa.
"What about the 10 years law?"

Hah. No such thing. Pleas don't listen to rumors on the street. Or what you read on the Internet. There is no law that prevents you from deportation if you've been here for more than 10 years.

It's never existed.
"What if I serve in the military?"

There was a program called MAVNI that allowed getting citizenship for certain noncitizens with certain skills. But It expired in 2016. The current administration has failed to renew it. So you can't serve.
"Can't I change status to a student visa?"

No. Unlawful presence requires you to leave. And once you do, you trigger the 10 year bar to reentry. You can't switch to ANY other status, actually. All for the same reason.
"Good news! I found out my grandpa became a US citizen and filed for all of us back in May 2001! I'm good now, right?"

No. Unlawful presence makes it impossible even though you have an approved petition. If it was filed before 4.30.01 you might have been ok. But May is too late.
"Ok my brother was born here. He can file for me, right?"

Yeah, but it won't lead to a green card. You still have to leave And when you do, you trigger the 10 year bar. You can't get a green card inside the US. Besides, sibling petitions take 13+ years to become current.
I could go on and on. Immigration lawyers reading this will identify with a lot.

Remember: This isn't your granddaddy's immigration system. It is usually impossible to comply with. It is full of legal pitfalls. One mistake and boom! You're in immigration court fighting to stay.
So before you judge 800K Dreamers, or the rest of the undocumented population, ask yourself: "Were they given a fair chance to fix their status?"
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