In my column of La Opinión this week I am answering several questions from readers. Here I answer your questions in a general way. Each case is different, so you should consult an attorney for personalized legal advice.
I have been married to a U.S. citizen for five years. When can I apply for U.S. citizenship? - Adam M.
You can apply for U.S. citizenship immediately if you meet all the requirements, such as good moral character and basic knowledge of English. Consult with an immigration attorney before you begin the process.
Where can I find a list of ICE detention centers in Texas? - Salvador G.
You can find a listing of all U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers by visiting the website: https://bit.ly/PHzfYu. There you can search for a facility by region, by state, and by facility name.
I am a U.S. citizen. I want to petition for my mother who lives in Mexico. I am thinking of preparing the documents on my own because I have little income and cannot afford a lawyer. Can I do the process directly with immigration? - Gabriela C.
You can do the process on your own if you understand the immigration laws and know all the steps you need to follow. I recommend that you go to a nonprofit organization that has licensed attorneys or federally accredited representatives to help you at little or no cost. You can find a list of non-profit organizations and people accredited to help immigrants by visiting the website: https://1.usa.gov/PlMFO7.
To immigrate to the U.S. your mother will have to meet several requirements, including proving that she will not be a public charge in the country. This is demonstrated by documentation that you have income or assets that are more than required by law. The amount depends on how many people you include on your tax return and the number of people you have sponsored for permanent residency in the past.
If they do not have the income or assets required by law, they may ask a relative, friend or stranger who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to serve as a guarantor. This person must show that he or she has sufficient income or assets to support the person to be immigrated, as well as his or her own family.