In this video, attorney Jacob J. Sapochnick answers one of your most frequently asked questions: I am an undocumented immigrant that has been living in the United States for the past 15 years. I have used a different name on all of my legal documentation. How will this affect me if there is immigration reform?
Question: I’ve been living and working in the United States for the past 15 years. I’ve worked using someone else’s security number and I have been paying my taxes, but I don’t have any records or documents with my real name, how is this going to affect me in the future when I try to qualify for immigration reform?
Many undocumented immigrants are facing this very same issue, having used incorrect names on all of their legal documents in the past to obtain a job, or even to build credit, using a different name and another person’s social security.
- Review your records
To resolve this issue, the important thing that you will need to do is establish a connection with your real name using secondary documents, because the government will require you to provide documented evidence as proof of your strong ties to the United States–in other words–that you have resided in the United States continuously. The first thing you should do is review your records carefully to identify any paperwork that might have your real name, such as medical paperwork, paperwork from friends, or your landlord dating back to the time when you came to the United States. If you have any children that were born in the United States, and your real name appears on their birth certificates you may use this evidence. Other documents such as financial records, pay-stubs, insurance records, applications for insurance, proof of purchase of an automobile, etc. showing your real name and dates will be very helpful to your case. Other secondary documents that could be provided include affidavits from your landlord, employer, friends, or family members that can attest to the fact that you have been living in the United States since a particular date. If you are unable to provide any records with your real name and the date when you came to the United States, this will be a major issue for you, because immigration will require you to show proof that you have been living in the United States for a certain period of time. Failure to provide such evidence may prevent you from obtaining amnesty.
2. Gather evidence showing your strong ties to the United States
The oldest documents you can provide are the most valuable to your case, because they show that you have have been living in the United States for a long period of time, and have strong ties to the United States. It is likely that in the case amnesty is passed, immigration will accept secondary evidence to prove continuous residence, demonstrating your strong ties to the United States. If your real name does not appear on any documents, you must be able to prove that you are the same person as the person whose name you have been using, or make a connection with your real name and present secondary evidence. The element of proof of entry, and how you were living in the United States, will be very important if amnesty passes, because many people will try to enter the United States and claim they were living here previously, when they were not. This will require undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States for a substantial period of time to separate themselves from those attempting to benefit from an immigration benefit by misrepresenting their residence. You will be able to do so by showing documented evidence that you have strong ties to the United States and have been living here for a long period of time. This will require you to do your due diligence and gather as many documents as you can to prove your strong ties to this country.
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