Below is a summary of comments I presented at a seminar at the International Center at Forsyth Technical Community College entitled, "Preparing for the Future."
In these uncertain times, the summary below may be helpful to you and many of your family members.
- Organize your important papers into a file. Make a list of all financial obligations; bank accounts; sources of income in the event that you need to ask someone to manage your affairs.
- Identify and discuss financial issues with a close relative or trusted friend with permanent residence or US citizenship.
- Consider adding this person as a signatory on a bank account that will allow them to access your funds in the event you cannot.
This can be done at the bank or financial institution.
- Make arrangements at your children's school to permit another adult that you trust to pick up your children from school. This can normally be done directly with the school.
- Consider meeting with an attorney to discuss options for conditional custody using a power of attorney in the event you are detained.
- Continue to improve your English. While not required by US law it will be necessary if you have the opportunity to naturalize and it is helpful in understanding your rights and expressing your rights if required.
Positive Steps to Obtain Status
- Review the immigration status of each family member. Remember a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder) can apply for spouse, unmarried children over age 21 and children under 21. US Citizens can apply for parents, siblings, children single or married. If you have delayed filing a family petition for a family member this is the time to consider this option. Make sure that all green card holders renew their card.
- Naturalization to become a US Citizens is the best protection against deportation and also provides additional rights including the right to vote. A lawful permanent resident can apply to naturalize after 5 years and this time requirement is reduced to 3 years if the resident is married to a USC. Another huge benefit to a parent naturalizing before their permanent resident children turn 18 is that the children may automatically acquire US citizenship.
- Consider other potential benefits: DACA is still available. If you entered prior to the age of 16, were living in the US in June 2012, have remained in the US since June of 2007, and graduated or enrolled in high school or a GED program you may be eligible for a work permit.
- Other programs include Temporary Protected Status; U Visas and self petitions for victims of domestic violence.