Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.
Question: I am a US Citizen. I am 18 years old. My parents are out of status and have been in the US more than 21 years. Can I petition for them to legalize their status without them having to leave the US?
Answer: If you are 18, then you cannot petition for your parents. US citizens must be 21 or older to file immigrant visa petitions for their parents.
If a petition has never previously been filed for them, they most likely would have to go back to their home country to apply for a visa at the US consular post. However, because they have been unlawfully present in the US for more than a year, if they leave the US, they will not be eligible to get a visa to return to the US for 10 years. A waiver of this 10 year bar would only be available if your parents have a US citizen or US Permanent Resident parent or spouse, and they can show that their parent or spouse will suffer extreme hardship if the waiver is not granted. The waiver is not available on the basis of having a US citizen or US permanent resident child.
However, since your parents have been in the US more than 10 years, and have a US citizen child, they may be eligible for the relief of Cancellation of Removal should the US government try to remove them from them US. However, the requirements of Cancellation of Removal is a complicated topic which will have to wait for a different posting.