Immigration Blog

June 10, 2019

Child Reunification Through Child Protection Act

Child Reunification

The “Child Status Protection Act” May Allow A Person To Immigrate To The U.S. As A “Child” Even Though They Are Over The Age Of 21.  This Protection May Allow A Person To Immediately Immigrate To The U.S. Instead Of Having To Wait Several Additional Years To Be Granted Permanent Resident Status.

Our client Tomas, had been a Lawful Permanent Resident of the USA since the mid 80’s. He was married to a woman named Silvia who was born and raised in the Yucatan. Tomas would travel to and from Mexico to visit his wife over the course of 30 years; they had four children all born abroad in Mexico. 

In 2015, Tomas came to Bailey Immigration, PC, wanting to renew his residency. When Attorney Diana Bailey and her paralegal Sally met with Tomas, they informed him of the eligibility to not only become a US Citizen, but also what that could mean for his family. Attorney Diana Bailey, quickly identified the urgency in his case and the potential issues, would his oldest child age out? 

The term “age out” refers to a child turning 21-years-old and becoming ineligible to immigrate to the U.S. with their parent since they are no longer a “child.”  The difference between being considered a “child” and “aging out” could be years of separation, heartache, and longing to be reunited with your family. In this case, because they were from Mexico, a country with the longest wait times, the separation from his oldest child would have been a 15 to 20+ year wait, for his oldest to be eligible to migrate to the USA–should she age out. 

We filed his Naturalization application immediately, and within 6 months he was sworn in and became a US Citizen. Immediately after, he filed five Petitions, one for each of his family members. Because Tomas became a US Citizen before his two youngest children turned 18, they would acquire US Citizenship upon lawful admission as residents to the USA (as long as they also entered the USA before turning 18)—time was of the essence.

Furthermore, his oldest was soon turning 21 years of age. Because he had become a US Citizen, and filed a petition for her before she turned 21, we were able to preserve her category as a “child” despite being 22 years old at the time of her entry into the USA a legal permanent resident. 

Tomas was able to successfully migrate his family of five to the USA. His wife, and two oldest children became Lawful Permanent Residents. His wife could file for Citizenship within 3 years since she is married to a United States Citizen, while his 2 oldest children could apply to be United States Citizens after 5 years.  His two youngest, became US Citizens upon entry and could directly apply for USA passports.