How to become legal citizen of the United States if you have children here

Full Question:

I have a relative that's a US citizen and married an illegal from Mexico. She has been here in the U.S. illegally for about five years now. They have two children together one is two years old the other is four, both born US citizens. My relative just got diagnosed with cancer and has only a few months to a year to live. His wife wants to stay in the US with her children. What are her rights? How can she become legal?
03/12/2009   |   Category: Immigration   |   State: ALL   |   #15568

Answer:

An immigrant is someone who is not a U.S. citizen but has been authorized to permanently live and work in the United States. To become an immigrant, you must go through a three-step process. First, the USCIS must approve an immigrant visa petition, I-130 Petition for Alien
Relative, for you. This petition is filed by your relative (sponsor) and must be accompanied by proof of your relationship to the requesting relative.Second, a visa number, through the State Department must be immediately available to you, even if you are already in the United
States. If you receive an immigrant visa number, it means that an immigrant visa has been assigned to you. The Deparment of State must determine if an immigrant visa number is immediately available to you, the foreign national, even if you are already in the United States. When an immigrant visa number is available, it means you can apply to have one of the immigrant visa numbers assigned to you. You can check the status of a visa number in the Department of State's Visa Bulletin. Third, if you are already in the United States, you may apply to adjust to permanent resident status after a visa number becomes available for you. If you are outside the United States when an immigrant visa number becomes available for you, you must then go to your local U.S. consulate to complete your processing.

People who want to become immigrants are divided into categories based on a preference system. The immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, which includes parents, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21, do not have to wait for an immigrant visa number to become available once the application filed for them is approved by the USCIS. An immigrant
visa number will be immediately available for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens.