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Immigration Corner | What are my daughters’ options?

Published:Tuesday | September 28, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Dahlia Walker Huntington
Dahlia Walker Huntington

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My stepdaughter petitioned for her sisters more than 14 years ago. In 2019, they got a response from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), requesting documents from them detailing their current status, which they uploaded to the USCIS site.

My stepdaughter said she doesn’t work, so her sisters needed co-sponsors, which they both got affidavits and tax transcripts from and uploaded to USCIS. The only document left to be uploaded is my stepdaughter’s proof that she is unemployed, or her portion of the affidavits of support. She is now refusing to cooperate and has stopped answering her phone.

Is there anything that can be done?

– J.G.

Dear J.G.,

The sibling category for a green card is the one that takes the longest for a visa to become available. It is currently taking approximately 14 years for a green card to become available for sibling beneficiaries. US citizens are permitted to file for their siblings, and that is the F4 preference category. It takes 14 years because of the number of visas available each year and the number of people who have been filed for in the sibling category. Yearly, there are 65,000 visas available in the sibling category and this leads to approximately 900,000 people currently waiting in line for a visa to become available in this category.

If a petitioner is unemployed when the affidavit of support is due to be filed, they are required to submit a notarised affidavit to explain their employment status. Sometimes people have no income because they are elderly, or they cannot find a job, but they can also choose not to work.

As the petitioner, your stepdaughter must be involved in the filing process through to the end. She is required to submit an affidavit of support – even if she has zero income, and if she is unemployed, her affidavit indicating that she is unemployed and why. You have not indicated why your stepdaughter has refused to continue the process. Families have disagreements all the time, and maybe her father or another family member could persuade her to get this last piece of the process done and provide her sisters with the opportunity to migrate after all these years. If she is not willing to participate, there is nothing that can be done.

Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington, Esq, is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States; and family, criminal and international law in Florida. She is a diversity and inclusion consultant, mediator, and former special magistrate and hearing officer in Broward County, Florida.