There is just one day left to call the CUNY/Daily News Citizenship Now! hotline with your questions on citizenship and immigration law. The call-in continues through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Spanish speakers can phone (212) 444-5964. English speakers and speakers of other languages call (212) 444-5968. Deaf people and the hearing impaired can call 711.
Here are some questions from concerned callers:
Q: I’ve been here for more than 20 years. Can I get a green card?
A: Unless you came here before Jan. 1, 1972, being in the United States doesn’t give you an automatic right to get green card status. Still, it’s best that you see an immigration law expert to check on any possible options. We can refer you to a not-for-profit legal provider who can help.
Some callers are asking about the so-called “10-year green card.”
The law provides a green card for a small number of undocumented immigrants here 10 years or longer, but winning these cases is difficult. Since only an immigrant judge can grant the green-card, if the judge rules against you, deportation often follows. To get a 10-year green card, you must prove exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent or child. That’s a high standard.
Q: After getting my green card, I was abroad for three years. Now that I’m back, can I get U.S. citizenship?
A: Maybe, but please get an immigration law expert to prepare you for your interview. You will need to convince the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officer interviewing you that you did not abandon your residence.
Usually, USCIS considers a trip abroad of a year or more as proof that a permanent resident abandoned his or her permanent residence. Still, some USCIS officers will approve naturalization applications after trips abroad of a year or more if the trip was more than five years before the individual applies. The longer you have been here since your extended time abroad, the more likely USCIS will approve your naturalization application.
By Allan Wernick for Daily News | New York
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