Legal Question in Immigration Law in Washington

guardian ship by stepfather

been here since I was 12 1968. My stepfather got me across the border from tij. mx thats where I was born. He was a u.s cit. He never adopted me. can I claim him as my legal guadian to become a citizen? He alway's claimed tha he was our legal guardian. Including when he applied for our ssn. He had six more children with mom and they're all citizens.

Asked on 2/05/09, 10:58 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Amir John Showrai The Pacific Law Firm, PLLC

Re: guardian ship by stepfather

In short, no, you cannot claim your stepfather as your legal guardian for immigration purposes that would help you secure legal status in the US. Given your age, adoption is also out of the question, although, had he adopted you, you would have attained US citizenship upon entry. I am sure had he known better at the time, he would have done just that.

From what you've written, presently, as far as I can tell, you have no status, or your status is that of a visitor who has overstayed his visa. It depends on whether you have written documentation to prove that you entered the US with inspection by an immigration officer.

The good news is that if you do have such proof, and you marry a US citizen, you can apply for legal permanent resident status without having to return to Mexico. The big IF is if you can prove you entered with inspection. That requires documentation. Without that documentation, if you marry a US citizen, you may still apply, but you will need to return to Mexico while the application is processed and you will need to request of a waiver from the attorney general due to your overstaying or entering without inspection in 1968.

Additionally, given that you've been here since 1968, if your stay has been continuous, you may be eligible for other forms of relief, but I'd have to sit down and go through your situation with you in detail to make such a determination.

You may also be sponsored to enter the US as a sibling of a US citizen, but the problem there is that you will have to wait in Mexico while the application is processed, you'll still have to apply for a waiver, and it will probably take 10-15 YEARS in that category.

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Answered on 2/06/09, 1:09 am

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