I just discovered another cause of my allegedly illegal status: a October 2002 letter requesting USCIS to abandon change of non-immigrant status from F-2 to F-1 and a January 2003 denial of the F-1 petition that we had already withdrawn.
The letter from the college states:
Please be advised that this student is abandoning her original petition to change to F-1 status as she is in the process of adjusting to immigrant status. She is an unmarried, minor and as such will assume her parents’ immigration status. Her mother’s immigrant petition was recently approved. We have attached evidence of her mother’s immigrant petition approval notice.
USCIS should have followed the law and honored the request since an applicant or petitioner has a right to withdraw the petition anytime before action is taken on it. Instead, they rejected the F-1 petition several months later with a note that the copy of the approved immigrant petition sent by the college showed immigrant intent, contrary to the non-immigrant requirements of the F-1. Of course, the college should never have done this but there is plenty of case precedent showing that someone on an F-1 can also have an intent to immigrate to this country as long as s/he follows legal channels.
I was a minor with absolutely no intent of my own to immigrate to the United States. But once again, USCIS chose to ignore the rule of law.
And after all is said and done, I’m the one who is allegedly illegal.