Unfortunately, the only forgiveness that existed for entering illegally was under INA 245(i) which states that if you had an I-130, I-140 or Labor Certification properly filed for you ON or BEFORE April 30, 2001 AND you could prove that you were inside the U.S. on December 21, 2000 unless the I-130, I-140 or Labor Certification was filed on or before January 14, 1998, then you could pay a $1000 penalty and adjust status to U.S. Lawful Permanent Residency. If you did not have any of those types of applications filed for you before that date, then you have three options:
1) Wait for an immigration law to come out that will help you. I have high hopes that next year or maybe the following, something good will come out.
2) Apply for Asylum (you had to have done this within the 1st year be being in the U.S. unless there are changed country conditions), Withholding of Removal, Convention Against Torture, or Cancellation of Removal. The first three things are if you fear to return to your home country because you believe that you will be specifically targeted due to your race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion and that you run a high risk of great bodily injury, torture, or death as a result. The last, Cancellation, you would have to prove that you have been at least 10 years in the U.S. AND you must also prove that if you are deported, a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident that depends upon you will suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship. This hardship must be something more than emotional separation hardship or financial hardship, so it is difficult to get.
3) Because you are married to a U.S. Citizen, you could file an I-130 here in the U.S. (which will give you no legal status, but you might be able to get a drivers license with the receipt), but once that I-130 is approved, really the only thing you can do is leave the U.S. and apply to come back in at the U.S. Embassy/consulate in your home country as the spouse of a U.S. Citizen. At that point, they will want to deny you because you entered illegally and stayed. So you would have to apply for an I-601 waiver (forgiveness) and to get this waiver you will have to prove that your spouse will suffer extreme hardship if you are not allowed back in to the U.S. These waivers are very difficult to get. The reason they are difficult to get is because your spouse's hardship probably will need to be more than just economic hardship or emotional separation hardship. So because they are difficult to get, no one wants to risk leaving the U.S. and getting stuck outside for 10 years if it isn't granted.
You can look at this link to get more information on I-601 waivers. It is from the U.S. Embassy in Syria, but it is a good description and the process should be similar in all U.S. Embassies.
and here is another link:
And here is a link to what extreme hardship is:
About Obama's new law, it isn't a new law. It is a new procedure but I think it is a trap. Why? Because right now there are millions of undocumented persons in the U.S. that are married to U.S. Citizens and even have U.S. Citizen children but they do not leave because they are afraid to be stuck outside for 10 years. What has changed is that before (and until they implemente the change which will take a year or so), a person had to leave the U.S. and spend around 15 months or so while waiting for their appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country and then HOPE that they got approved, but the change is that now they say that the same person can apply inside the U.S., supposedly get a pre-approval, but they still have to leave the U.S. and present themselves to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. So why do I think it is a trap? Because it could very easily be a way to just get those many millions of people to finally leave the U.S. and once they are outside, they can still be denied the waiver even though they have a "pre-approval". I just don't trust that. So at the very least, it will be a year before it is implemented and I would wait at least 6 months or more to see how many of those pre-approvals turn out to be approvals at the end.
I am truly sorry for the bad news, but the options are very limited at the moment. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. I would be happy to answer them for you without additional charge, if not, please do not forget to click accept or I do not get credit for my assistance to you. You are not charged again. If you would like to request me in the future, just put my name on the subject line. Positive feedback for my service to you (not the state of the law as it is) is always appreciated as well as any bonus if you think I deserve it. Thank you.