Immigration Issues/I-95 overstay


Hi, I have a question regarding my girlfriend's status that has been troubling me for a few years. She came to the US about 4 years ago with her mother and her two younger sisters. I believe the mother applied for the US residency in Haiti as they are an Haitian immigrant family. Where it gets complicated is that they were waiting the approval letter and her mom denied her to go back to the country before turning 18 due to political instability at that time. We are both 20 now and with this unfortunate overstay I can see how it's affecting her ability to prosper. She is extremely smart graduated high school with honors valedictorian accepted to a good colleges but had to turn them down and go to a community college because so few resources are available for her case. On my part my family applied for asylum and was granted but her mom preferred to wait for the approval letter of the residency instead of doing the same because both families were targeted during the political turmoil. Basically we've been going out for 3 years and it breaks my heart seeing her endure all that could have happened to me. I am now a permanent resident and she has an overstayed tourist visa. What options are really available to adjust her status because I know I am not a US citizen but if my last resort is to wait to apply for citizenship I would do it but will she get deported during that time? I am really scared because her younger sister will be turning 17 soon and the youngest was born in the US.For some unknown reason her mother told me that she will be getting the residency in a couple months but for some reason not my girlfriend. Is it because she is 20 or maybe she didn't list them in the application. I hope I'm making sense because I get unbearable headaches when I think about this issue.

Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear Paul,

I can see how this is such a headache to think about and it is truly saddening.  I can't really make heads or tails of what your girlfriend's mother has done or has not done, so I can't comment on that and besides, to truly get some kind of assessment on the issue, an attorney would have to be really careful in reviewing so many years of documents.

As far as your waiting to become a citizen and marry her, that is possible.  Just hope that she isn't picked up and removed by the USCIS before then.
Do also keep in mind that there are many consequences of an overstay, and if your girlfriend leaves the US, she will trigger what is known as the 3 and 10 year bar.  So you can also do some research on that.  If and when you do see an attorney, try and see someone who only does immigration law and is reputable.  Your girlfriend's situation is fraught with a lot of risk.  Take care and if you would like to consult with my firm, you can do so if you mention

Good luck,
Eileen Chun-Fruto

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Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

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