Letter: Bad advice on citizenship
Your story "LI students laud change in policy" [News, June 16] described the situation of Jackeline Saavedra, 27, a Touro Law Center student who came to the United States illegally when she was 14. When her mother became a citizen, Saavedra was an adult, making her ineligible to become a naturalized citizen.
This brings up some interesting questions: Who has been fighting for her, and how?
Regardless of how old she was when she came to the United States, her mother, when she obtained her permanent resident, or "green," card, was entitled to file a petition for permanent residence for her unmarried daughter of any age. If Saavedra had married while her mother was still a green card holder, she would have had to wait until her mother became a U.S. citizen to become the beneficiary of a petition filed by her mother on her behalf -- unless Saavedra married a U.S. citizen, in which case her spouse could file a petition for her.
It typically takes three to five years after obtaining permanent resident status to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Judging from the time frame -- 13 years -- it would appear that either the process wasn't done properly, or there were other factors involved, which the changes announced by President Barack Obama earlier this month probably are not designed to address.
At any rate, Saavedra's mother, as a U.S. citizen, is entitled to file a petition for permanent residence on behalf of her daughter of any age, whether married or not, without relying on this minor but very welcome change.
Ernst P.A. Vanamson, Sayville
Editor's note: The writer is a translator who assists with citizenship petitions.