We understand that finding a reliable caregiver for your child is one of the most stressful – and important – parts of being a parent. Once you find your trusted caregiver, the thought of losing that person because she or he does not have legal status in the United States can be terrifying. As immigration attorneys and working mothers, we are often asked, “How can I sponsor my caregiver for a green card?”
Can I sponsor my caregiver for citizenship?
This question breaks our hearts, not only as attorneys but also as mothers. We know that many families would do anything, and pay any amount, to sponsor their caregiver for a green card. But the reality is that in most situations, you cannot sponsor your caregiver for U.S. citizenship. If she or he is here illegally (e.g., by overstaying her or his tourist status or entering the U.S. without inspection), the law essentially says that there is no way for that person to become legal. As immigration attorneys, however, our job is to come up with solutions to help you – and your caregiver.
What are my options?
Through our years of experience working with caregivers (and the families who hire them), we have found that in some cases there may be a way to help them legalize their status.
-If the country your caregiver is from is undergoing political unrest, the U.S. may have issued TPS (Temporary Protective Status) for the citizens of that country. If so, your caregiver may qualify for TPS and be able to obtain an immigration benefit for as long as the TPS is in effect.
-If your caregiver’s family had filed a green card petition for the caregiver before April 30, 2001, she or he may be able to benefit from the life act.
-If your caregiver has a child or spouse who is a U.S. citizen, she or he may have an opportunity to legalize her or his status.
These are just a few possibilities, and every person’s background and situation are unique.
What should I do now to help my caregiver apply for a green card?
Your first step should be to speak with a reputable immigration attorney. If your caregiver has already engaged an immigration attorney, you can help by speaking with the attorney to understand the strategy he or she is using in the green card process. If your caregiver does not yet have someone representing her or him, this is the time to consult an experienced immigration attorney with a solid reputation to learn what options may be available.
What should my caregiver and I be careful about?
Unfortunately, many caregivers go to agencies or visa consultants for help with immigration matters. Often, these agencies and consultants file frivolous green card applications that they know will not be granted. If that happens, your caregiver will become known to the immigration authorities and at risk of being put in removal proceedings. It is very important to understand the risks associated with filing an application with the Department of Homeland Security and to speak with an immigration attorney before the application is filed.
Immigration laws are complex and constantly changing – which is why it is so important to speak with a knowledgeable immigration attorney. Keep in mind that any conversation you or your caregiver have with an attorney is confidential, so do not be afraid to sit down with the lawyer, provide all relevant information, and express your concerns. We understand the bond that you and your family have with your caregiver, and the importance of protecting that special relationship by helping her or him remain legally in the U.S.
The information on this website in this post is for attorney advertising purposes only. No Attorney-client relationship is formed out of reviewing this post. Do not rely on information found in this post to make any decision concerning your legal rights. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.