\ afm \ Adjudicator's Field Manual - Redacted Public Version \ Chapter 24 Legalization. \ 24.6 LIFE Act Family Unity Provisions.
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24.6 LIFE Act Family Unity Provisions.
The LIFE Act Amendments provide that certain spouses and unmarried children of aliens eligible for LIFE Legalization receive Family Unity benefits.
Jurisdiction and Proper Filing
Each applicant for the LIFE Family Unity Program must file a separate Form I-817, Application for Family Unity Benefits, at the National Benefits Center. The Form I-817 must be accompanied by four (4) passport-style photos, documents in support of the claim, and the requisite filing fee and fingerprinting fee.
A separate Form
, Application for Employment Authorization, is
(1) The applicant must currently be the spouse or unmarried child of an alien eligible for LIFE Legalization. Unlike the Family Unity Program established by IMMACT 90 and discussed in
of this field manual, an unmarried child does “age- out” of Family Unity benefits upon the attainment of 21 years of age.
(2) The applicant must have entered the United States before December 1, 1988, and have been residing in the United States on such date.
(3) The applicant must currently be in the United States.
(4) The principal alien must:
Be an “eligible alien” who has applied for LIFE Legalization (if the applicant is applying for Family Unity benefits on or after June 5, 2003); or
Have adjusted status to lawful permanent resident pursuant to LIFE Legalization.
The LIFE Act Amendments also provide Family Unity benefits to certain spouses and unmarried children of aliens who adjusted their status to lawful permanent resident pursuant to LIFE Legalization and who are no longer present in the United States. Regulations providing procedures for granting Family Unity benefits to an otherwise eligible alien who is no longer present in the United States are forthcoming.
The folowing individuals are not eligible for Family Unity benefits:
(1) A Family Unity applicant who has been convicted of a felony or of three or more misdemeanors in the United States.
(2) A Family Unity applicant who has ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of an individual because of the individual’s race, religions, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
(3) A Family Unity applicant who has been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime and who is a danger to the community of the United States.
(4) A Family Unity applicant who
INS or USCIS
has serious reasons to believe has committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside of the United States before the applicant arrived in the United States.
(5) A Family Unity applicant who
INS or USCIS
has reasonable grounds to believe is a danger to the security of the United States.
If the service center director approves a Form I-817, the Family Unity beneficiary will receive protection from removal for a 1-year period if the principal alien has not adjusted to lawful permanent resident status or for a 2-year period if the principal alien has adjusted to lawful permanent resident status. He or she will be deemed to be in an authorized period of stay . Such authorized period of stay will be deemed to begin as of the date the Form I-817 was filed and continues without interruption until
the Form I-817 is approved and through the period the alien retains Family Unity protection. The Family Unity beneficiary will also receive an Employment Authorization Document valid for the same period as the protection from removal. The Family Unity beneficiary receives protection from removal provided that the grounds of removal are specified in:
of the Act (aliens present in the United States in violation of the Act or any other law of the United States);
of the Act (aliens who violated their nonimmigrant status or violated the conditions of entry);
of the Act (aliens who failed to comply with the change of address notification requirements of the Act); or
If the Family Unity beneficiary is the unmarried child of a principal alien, and he or she will turn 21 during the period for which he or she would be granted Family Unity benefits, the evidence of protection from removal and any EAD will be dated to expire the day before the beneficiary’s 21
If the service center director finds that a Form I-817 cannot be approved, a written notice of denial must be provided to the applicant. There is no appeal from a denied Form I-817. If the applicant believes that the grounds of denial have been overcome, he or she may submit a new Form I-817, with fee, to the service center director. A notice to appear must not be issued until 90 days after the initial denial.
Extension of Family Unity Benefits
The LIFE Act Amendments also provide for extensions of Family Unity benefits. Regulations providing procedures for granting extensions of Family Unity benefits are forthcoming.
Termination of Family Unity Benefits
INS or USCIS
may terminate benefits under the Family Unity Program if:
The Family Unity benefits were acquired through fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact;
The Family Unity beneficiary commits an act that makes him or her inadmissible as an immigrant for benefits under the Family Unity program;
The principal alien loses his or her legalized status (naturalization of the principal alien does not render the Family Unity beneficiaries ineligible for Family Unity benefits), fails to apply for LIFE Legalization by June 4, 2003, or has his or her LIFE Legalization application denied; or
A qualifying relationship to the principal alien no longer exists (i.e., the principal alien and his or her spouse divorce, or the child of the principal alien turns 21).
(2) The Service Center Director must provide a written notice of intent to terminate to the Family Unity beneficiary and allow 30 days for response. A final notice of termination must also be provided to the Family Unity beneficiary upon a determination to terminate.
(3) A Family Unity beneficiary who has his or her benefits terminated will begin accruing unlawful presence immediately from the date of such termination. Further, if Family Unity benefits are terminated and the alien then departs from the United States, any unlawful presence accrued prior to the grant of Family Unity benefits may make the alien subject to
of the Act and ineligible for other immigration benefits.