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Spurred by the need to support his aging parents and younger siblings, X decided to immigrate to the United States in 1990. Unable to secure a visa to enter the United States, he entered the United States between ports of entry and quickly secured a low-paying job. While he could not spare a substantial part of his income to send to his family, the small amounts he could wire made an appreciable difference in their lives. X stayed in the United States and with time, he met and married Y, a U.S. citizen, with whom he had three children. With the exception of his irregular entry, X has had an exemplary life, eventually creating his own business, paying taxes, and putting his children through college. X’s children are now adults with their own families. X has never been the subject of a criminal investigation or charged with the violation of any rule. X remains, however, undocumented and at risk of deportation. In fact, unless major legislative or policy changes are enacted, X’s initial irregular entry will prevent him from changing his immigration status for the rest of his life. X’s wife and one of his adult children have both petitioned for a visa for X and both petitions have been approved years ago. However, X’s only way to take advantage of the visa approvals is to leave the country and remain in his home country for ten years. The Immigration and Nationality Act, (“INA”), allows U.S. citizens to request an immigrant visa for their spouses and–after reaching twenty-one years of age–for their parents. Once the request is approved, beneficiaries outside the United States can request a U.S. consulate to issue an immigrant visa for them and use their visas to enter as legal permanent residents. Certain beneficiaries already present in the United States can, however, avoid leaving the United States to obtain an immigrant visa by adjusting status to that of a legal permanent resident. However, under INA § 245(a), persons who were not inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States cannot adjust their status without leaving the United States and obtaining a visa at a U.S. consulate; under INA § 212(a)(9)(B)(i)(II), persons who have been in the United States unlawfully for more than one year are subject to a ten-year admissibility bar upon departure.



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