If your baby’s father is in the country illegally, you may be wondering what the future holds. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself and your baby.
What Is an Illegal Immigrant or Undocumented Person?
The term “illegal immigrant” or “undocumented person” describes someone who’s in this country illegally. It usually refers to one of these two situations:
- Someone came in legally on a work or student visa but didn’t renew their visa in time. This is known as a visa overstay.
- Someone crossed the border without a visa or permission from an immigration official. This is known as an undocumented person or illegal immigrant.
Is My Baby a Citizen?
If your baby was born in the US, he or she is a citizen. Being a citizen doesn’t depend on the legal status of your parents. The US has what’s known as “birthright citizenship,” which means every baby born here is automatically a citizen.
Is It Possible for My Baby’s Father to Get Citizenship?
Unfortunately, the law doesn’t make it easy for undocumented people to get citizenship. There are many hurdles a person has to cross.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking marriage will lead to citizenship or a green card. That used to be the case, but the law has changed.
How Can My Baby’s Father Get a Green Card?
That depends on how he entered the US.
Is He a Visa Overstay?
If your baby’s father overstayed his visa, he can get a green card if you get married. He will have to renew his visa. Additionally, he will also have to prove:
- He initially entered the country legally. This requires a visa stamp or arrival/departure record.
- You married each other in good faith.
- He has not committed any felonies while in the US.
There are many forms to complete and steps to take to make this happen. Before you do anything, consult a good immigration attorney.
Did He Enter Illegally?
If your baby’s father entered the country illegally, it’s almost impossible for him to get a green card. He would have to return to his home country and apply for a visa, but there’s another catch. According to US law, anyone who stays in the country illegally has a so-called entry bar, meaning they have to stay out of the US for a set number of years. If he stayed here a year or longer, the bar is ten years.
That means he would have to leave, wait ten years, and then apply for a visa. To make matters worse, there’s no guarantee he would get it.
There Are No Guarantees
You can apply for a waiver of the entry bar if you can prove the 10-year entry bar would cause hardship for you and your children. You can sometimes get this waiver if you can prove you and your child depend on him for financial, medical, housing, or other support. Some people have had success getting a waiver, but there is no sure way to know if you’ll be one of the lucky ones.
Immigration law is extremely complicated. Sometimes, starting the legal process can cause immigration officials to take notice of your partner’s status, which could lead to an arrest and deportation. It can be less risky to do nothing.
Don’t try to figure this out on your own. You need a good immigration lawyer.
Can My Baby’s Father and I Get Married?
You can get married as long as you’re both of legal age and not married to anyone else. It’s legal to marry an illegal immigrant. Keep in mind what we said above. Marrying your baby’s father won’t make him a citizen.
What Happens If My Baby’s Father Gets Deported?
If the worst happens and your baby’s father gets deported, custody of the child will automatically transfer to you. If he’s paying child support, that will stop. You should have a backup plan in case this happens.
Protect Your Future
If your baby’s father is here illegally, you might have a tough road ahead. You should start making plans to ensure a secure future for your child. Talk to a lawyer before you make any major decisions. Taking proactive steps now is the best way to protect your baby’s future.