A large number of families living in the Los Angeles area could be classified as being “mixed-status” families. This means that the family contains at least one child who was born in the United States along with at least one family member that is an immigrant without legal status. In fact, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that 9 million people currently living in the U.S. are part of a mixed-status family.

This is the case for a family of six living in the U.S. The man and woman have one child together and three are the man’s stepchildren. The woman and the children are all Americans, but the man is not. Earlier this year he was pulled over by police during a traffic stop. They apparently found out he was not here legally, because they turned him over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and subsequently deported. The woman went to Mexico in May where she married the man.

In any other case, because of the marriage, the man may have been eligible for a spouse visa, but because he had entered the country illegally previously and been deported, the chances of a visa being granted were low.

Faced with the possibility of not seeing his family again, including his 24-year-old stepson who has cerebral palsy and who depends on his stepfather for constant care, the man returned to the U.S. Once again, he was detained by immigration officials and threatened with deportation. His case was reviewed, and because of his circumstances, the man was granted a one-year stay of removal.

If you are interested in family-based immigration options, it may be a good idea to speak with an immigration attorney before trouble like this occurs.

Source: MSNBC, “Ohio family’s struggle defines deportation debate,” Benjy Sarlin, Aug. 16, 2013