In addition to the other tips mentioned so far (pay any back taxes, start collecting documents that prove you have continuously resided in the US for the past 10 years), you will need to keep a clean record to be a good candidate for legal status once immigration reform is implemented.
1. Avoid jail and do not get in trouble. Criminal activity can get you deported and at the very least may keep you from becoming legal. Do not interact with the police or law enforcement if it is not absolutely necessary. The police may be cooperating with immigration officials or ICE.
- Note: Do not let this warning stop you from calling the police to report a crime, or medical help. Victims of some crimes may even be able to get a special visa for assisting the police with the investigation of the crime.
2. Claiming to be a US Citizen can have severe immigration consequences. Do not do it. Claiming that you are a US citizen when you are not is called a false claim to US citizenship. This will mean that you may never be able to get legal status and you can even be deported. Things that are seen to be false claims to US citizenship (whether you knew it at the time or not) are:
- Voting or registering to vote.
- Using someone else’s identity as a US citizen to get work or any other Federal or State benefit
3. Make sure that you financially support all of your children. If you have been ordered to pay child support you must make all of your payments and make them on time. If you are behind on your child support payments or owe back payments then you need to enter into a payment plan and try your best to catch up.
- Even if you do not have a child support order, make sure to financially support your children if you do not live with them. If you do not pay child support or financially support your children in any way possible, it may make it difficult in the future to get legal status.