Search terms tried: illegal immigrant legitimized, illegal alien become legal, illegal immigrant route to legal residency, illegal immigrant under 18, also browsed the US's Immigration Services website
My characters are both sixteen and entered the US illegally without their parents. I want them to get legitimized, preferably without having to leave the US. Was this possible in the 80s? One of the characters has an aunt and uncle who are US citizens, so they're staying with them and also working at the uncle's restaurant. The other character has no relatives in the US. Neither characters' legal guardians from their home country are involved in their lives; they are runaways no one is looking for.
If adoption by the aunt and uncle is an option, it's further complicated by the fact that the two teens are boyfriend and girlfriend, and ideally would like to get married someday. (I just couldn't pick something easy to write about, could I? *weep*)
I'm going nuts trying to research this topic because it's such a heated political issue now and we're living in a post 9/11 world, AND I'm basically trying to find out how to do something illegal... little_details, you're my only hope!