One may be surprised to learn just how many of their friends and neighbors in Miami are living in the U.S. illegally. Equally as surprising may be the notable public figures with ties to undocumented immigrants. Yet despite whom one may know or even be related to, according the immigration experts, his or her path to permanent residency isn’t any clearer than one who has no famous family at all.
A few eyebrows may have been raised recently when it was discovered that a man facing deportation before a Boston immigration judge was granted status as a legal permanent resident. When asked if he had any family living in the U.S., the Kenyan-born man replied that he his sister, two nieces, and a nephew lived here. When asked to elaborate on his relatives, the man replied that his nephew was one Barack Obama.
The President’s uncle has been in the U.S. ever since coming from Kenya on a student visa in 1963. When the visa expired in 1970, he chose to remain, despite a deportation order he received in 1992. His immigration wasn’t again called into question until 2011, when he was arrested on a criminal matter (the charges against him were later dismissed).
This isn’t the first time that this particular judge has heard a case involving members of the President’s family. He granted asylum to his aunt in 2010 after she had been order to be deported in 2004.
Yet immigration lawyers say that this shouldn’t be viewed as a case of preferential treatment to the President’s relatives. A provision in current federal immigration law allows for immigrants who have been here since 1972 and displayed “good moral character” the right to apply for a green card. In each case, the President’s relatives met that standard.
One needn’t be related to the President to gain permanent residency. An immigration attorney may help him or her in gaining such a privilege if he or she has that goal.
Source: The Los Angeles Times “Obama’s uncle is granted permanent resident status” Brian Bennett, Dec. 03, 2013