Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens may be eligible for lawful permanent residence (i.e., a green card) through a family-based immigrant visa petition. However, illegal entry into the U.S. can make obtaining a green card difficult or impossible for an immediate relative.

Under U.S. immigration law, individuals who have entered the U.S. illegally (i.e., without inspection) are generally not eligible to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence, even if they are immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen. This is because the law requires that applicants for adjustment of status have entered the U.S. lawfully and been inspected by a border officer at the time of entry.

However, there are some limited exceptions to this rule. For example, individuals who entered the U.S. illegally may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility based on extreme hardship to a qualifying U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse or parent. This waiver is available in certain circumstances, such as when denial of the waiver would result in extreme hardship to a qualifying family member.

It is important to note that while immediate relatives of U.S. citizens may be eligible for a waiver of inadmissibility based on extreme hardship, this waiver is not guaranteed and can be difficult to obtain. Additionally, individuals who have been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than 180 days may be subject to a bar on re-entering the U.S. if they leave and try to return, even if they have been granted a waiver of inadmissibility.

Overall, immediate relatives of U.S. citizens who have entered the U.S. illegally may face significant challenges in obtaining a green card.


Individuals who are victims of extortion may be eligible for asylum in the United States if they can show that they are members of a particular social group and fear persecution in their home country because of that membership.

To establish membership in a particular social group, the group must have a particular and immutable characteristic that is either innate, such as gender or sexual orientation, or that is so fundamental to the person’s identity that they cannot or should not be required to change it. This can include groups such as family members, tribes, or those with a common characteristic, such as occupation or socio-economic status.

In the case of extortion victims, the social group may be defined as individuals targeted for extortion in their home country or individuals unable to pay extortion demands due to their socio-economic status. In some cases, the social group may also include the family members of the victim, who are targeted as a means of pressuring the victim to comply with the demands of the extortionist.

To establish a fear of persecution, the applicant must show that there is a reasonable probability that they will suffer harm if returned to their home country. This harm can take many forms, including physical violence, imprisonment, or psychological harm, and must be based on a protected ground, such as race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

Victims of extortion who are considering applying for asylum should consult with an experienced immigration attorney for guidance on the particular issues in their case and the available forms of relief.


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