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A Glimmer of Hope for Those in the US Illegally, But Only for a Short Period of Time
by Alan M. Lubiner

On December 21, 2000, President Clinton signed into law The Legal Immigration and Family Equity Act of 2000 ("LIFE" Act). This new law allows persons illegally in the US to adjust status in the United States to permanent residence.

The law gives eligible people until April 30, 2001, to file an immigrant petition or labor certification application to be eligible to adjust their status in the US, but they need to prove that they were actually in the US on December 21, in order to be eligible. Under the changes made by the LIFE Act, Section 245(i) will be available for any beneficiary of a bona fide immigrant visa petition (an I-130, I-140, or I-360) or application for labor certification that is filed on or before April 30, 2001.

This new law extends the old law that required immigrant visa petitions or labor certifications to be filed prior to January 14, 1998, to provide adjustment of status eligibility. The new law IS NOT an amnesty, nor does it give protection against deportation. It is an opportunity for those persons previously prevented from applying for adjustment of status because they missed the deadline of January 14, 1998, to apply for adjustment of status. Those people include illegal entrants, crewmen, overstays and status violators.

The application is made on form I-485A and must accompany an application for adjustment of status on form I-485. The applications must include the applicable filing fee and a penalty fee of $1,000.00. Keep in mind, however, that an application for adjustment of status cannot be made unless an immigrant petition has already been approved and a quota number is currently available, or unless an immediate relative petition is filed simultaneously with the application for adjustment of status based upon a currently approvable and available quota category.

About The Author

Alan M. Lubiner has been practicing immigration law since 1975. He was employed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service as an Immigration Officer and Attorney from 1975 to 1981, serving in a number of capacities, including Immigration Inspector at Miami International Airport, Naturalization Examiner, Attorney in charge of special cases and assisting with the drafting of legislation for the Select Commission on Immigration in Washington, DC. From 1978 to 1979 Mr. Lubiner was assigned by the INS to the United States Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida where he served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney assigned to special Immigration prosecutions.

In 1981, Mr. Lubiner left the Immigration and Naturalization Service to open a private law practice specializing in Immigration law. Mr. Lubiner's Immigration practice is heavily concentrated in professionals. He represents major corporations, individuals and Universities in the scientific field with emphasis on computer science, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry and pharmaceutical research. He has successfully handled over 1000 cases for foreign students and other individuals. In addition, his firm handles all types of Immigration cases including family petitions and deportation matters.

Mr. Lubiner is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, an affiliated organization of the American Bar Association and has served on its Board of Governors. He is a past Chairman and Secretary of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He is a member of the Bar of the States of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania and is admitted to practice before the Federal Courts in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania as well as the United States Supreme Court.

Mr. Lubiner is the co-author of the following books:

Immigration Made Simple
Citizenship Made Simple