Clearly, immigration reform is not going to happen this year. We need a new Congress to work with a new president in order to get it done.
Lets think positive for a second and assume that the November elections will result in a Democratic president and a real and positive shakeup in Congress. Such a combination will certainly breathe new life in the discussions around a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). If you are one of the 12 million undocumented individuals in the U.S., it behooves you to be ready early in 2017 and move quickly on the path to legalization.
In the event of a CIR - you will need to document your entire immigration history. This means you'll need to know the exact date you entered the country, the number of times you attempted such an entry, if and when you were ever apprehended by border patrol (CBP), if you were ever removed from the U.S., your complete criminal history if any - and whether you or anyone on our behalf has ever filed either an employment or family based petition on your behalf.
If you dont have all of this information, and most people dont, there is a way to obtain these records directly from the government with little or no risk to your safety. Records requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) should have most if not all of this information.
It typically takes a few months for the government to respond and provide copies of whats available. Different agencies may have bits and pieces of your information. Therefore FOIA requests should be filed with USCIS, ICE, and CBP. Additionally, if there are any criminal issues, no matter how trivial, records request from the FBI and California Department of Justice should also be submitted. If there are any visa denials, a FOIA request to the Department of State (DOS) is in order.
Since it takes a few months for the different agencies to respond, the time to act and file these FOIA requests is now. Once you have your entire immigration and criminal history, then you may plan correctly and accurately on whether legalization is possible and choose the best path forward. If you'd like to file for a FOIA - please call our Los Angeles office to schedule an appointment. 323-857-0034.