Five ways to benefit from immigration reform

Immigration reform is on the way. How prepared are you? One of the key to success is preparation. A man who fails to plan is planning to fail. According to Collin Powell, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” When amnesty does come for undocumented immigrants, it won’t be thrown at your doorstep. There are certain critical steps you must take now to maximally benefit from the anticipated reform.

1. Gather your entire immigration documents:

You will need to get documents that will establish your true identity and support any eligibility criteria. This will include your current or expired passport, state identity card, driver’s license, 1-94 card, attestation of birth, baptismal card, birth certificate, school records, work records, etc. The process of gathering record is time consuming. Be smart! Start digging out those documents now!

2. Take care of any criminal issues:

If you have any criminal history, chances are that you will have difficulty getting any immigration benefit. My recommendation is that you should get the disposition and speak to a competent attorney as this may be a barrier. Some criminal records can be sealed. If you have a clean criminal history, stay away from trouble with the law.

3. Pay your taxes:

As a good citizen, it is important that you pay your taxes regardless of the fact that you are an undocumented immigrant. Where discretion is to be exercised, an immigration officer will look more favorably to one who has been paying taxes than someone who does not pay.

4. Save some money:

You have heard the saying that there is no free lunch in America. Be smart! You may be required to pay a penalty. Some other fees that may be associated with this process are government fees, attorney fees, long distance call to request documents from abroad, cost of dispatching documents from abroad etc.

5. Get a good immigration lawyer and avoid scammers:

Get a good immigration lawyer ahead of time especially if there are potential problematic issues. There are scammers who are interested in getting your money. Avoid them!

The content of this write up is intended for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. Those seeking specific legal advice should contact Gertrude Onuoha Esq. at 575 Lexington Avenue, 4th Fl. NY NY 10022 (PHONE) 212-971-9704 or 7326421604)

Gertrude Onuoha Esq. is the founder of the law offices of Gertrude Onuoha, P.C. She has practiced law for more than 17 years. She has great depth of experience and a successful track record in handling employment and family-based petitions as well as PERM and naturalization applications. She is admitted to practice law in the state of New York and has a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law in New York. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the New York Bar Association and a New York State Certified Mediator.

More from Around NYC