I am a US Citizen and my husband is from El Salvador, but living here with me illegally from 2009 – 2011. In 2012, he returned to El Salvador to help his dying father. His father is now dead, and my husband wants to come back. What will happen if he’s detained?
Because your husband was a foreign national living in the United States after entering illegally at the time of your marriage, your marriage does not create a straightforward path to a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence). U.S. immigration law has created various penalties for people who both enter and stay in the U.S. without permission—regardless the status of their marriage to a U.S. citizen.
Furthermore, since your husband has illegally crossed the U.S. border more than once, and since his unlawful stay lasted more than six months, you should definitely see an immigration attorney regarding your hope for your husband’s citizenship based on marriage to you, a U.S. citizen. Your husband could be permanently barred from immigrating to the United States. It doesn’t matter that he is married to a U.S. citizen.
Since your husband was in in the U.S. unlawfully for more than six months, he therefore faces at least a minimum three-year time bar on returning.
You don’t mention how long your husband has been in the USA illegally prior to your marriage. Since he is a Salvadoran national, if he first entered the USA on or before September 19, 1990, he might be able to show that he is eligible to apply for NACARA 203 relief and be granted NACARA suspension of deportation or the special rule cancellation of removal.
Note: The Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief (NACARA) Section 203 was signed into law on November 19, 1997 by President Clinton. This law provides various forms of immigration benefits and relief from deportation to certain Nicaraguans, Cubans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, nationals of former Soviet bloc countries and their dependents. Section 203 of NACARA allows qualified individuals to apply for suspension of deportation or for cancellation of removal (“NACARA 203 relief”) under the standards similar to those in effect before the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. At the same time an individual is granted NACARA 203 relief, he or she is also given lawful permanent resident status.
Call The Law Office of Stephen M. Corby today for an immigration law consultation. The immigration attorney you choose is very important—especially for those immigration cases as complicated as yours. You need an experienced immigration lawyer who will fight for you. Our lawyers can handle all immigration matters involving deportation, detention, federal appeals, visa petitions and more.