What are the benefits of US citizenship to a minor whose parents are non citizens?

Thanks for your question! This response will provide and analyze two groups of benefits available to children who become U.S. citizens and their parents: immigration petitions and general privileges. The first group focuses on the main benefit provided to parents. The second group includes a summary of rights the child can exercise in the United States.

Before delving into the benefits, it is worth mentioning that immigrant families may access these benefits only if their child meets one of six statutory definitions. The child must satisfy one of these six conditions: (1) be born in wedlock, (2) be a stepchild under 18 at the time of the marriage, (3) be legitimated before 18 and be in the custody of the legitimating parents, (4) be born out of wedlock where a benefit is sought through the natural mother or father, (5) be adopted under the age of 16, or (6) be an orphan (there are several restrictions on this last category). The child must also be under 21 and be unmarried.

First, assuming the minor was born inside the United States, once she or he turns twenty-one, they can sponsor their parents for green card status in the country. The parents must meet all green card requirements for their immigrant petition to be successful. This fact is important because some nonimmigrant parents incorrectly assume that if they ensure that their child was born inside the U.S., that child will be able to immediately sponsor their naturalization petitions. This is not true. While it is true that the Obama Administration implemented several measures to give undocumented parents of U.S. Citizens deportation exemptions and a renewable three-year work permit, the Supreme Court enjoined the President from enforcing this program in June of 2016.

If children born on U.S. soil wish to sponsor their undocumented parents for legal status, this process could take several years as the parents may be forced to return to their home countries in order to meet certain filing requirements. This is the case because undocumented parents of U.S. citizens who unlawfully reside in the country for 180 days are inadmissible for three years and parents who unlawfully reside for a year or more are inadmissible for ten years. In practice, what this means is that the parent must return to their home country for the duration of the inadmissible period before coming back to the U.S. to complete their Green Card application. There is one exception to this rule, though: undocumented parents of U.S. citizens can apply for cancellation of their removal and, petition for legal status, with the aid of their children’s citizenship, without returning to their home country.

Aside from this main benefit, which is what I assume your question was driving at, the child will enjoy all the privileges and immunities that come with U.S. Citizenship. This list includes:

· The right to vote in federal elections,

· Automatic citizenship for children born to the child abroad,

· Passport eligibility,

· Cost savings that come with not having to maintain permanent residency status,

· Protection from deportation,

· More complete access to public benefits,

· Retention of Social Security Retirement Income and

· Eligibility for tuition assistance for higher education

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