Options for Legalization Available Now

AOS or Waiver
Most aliens who entered with a visa, overstayed and subsequently married a US citizen can apply for Adjustment of Status (AOS), i.e. apply for a 'green card'. An alien who entered the United States without inspection and has a US citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent might be eligible for the foreign-filed waiver process. The process requires the alien to depart the United States for approximately three to fifteen months or more, though starting near the end of 2012 new procedures will substantially reduce the time abroad for the majority of applicants. Certain history may make the alien ineligible for the process More on waivers from Scott and Associates

Asylum is available to aliens who apply less than one year after entering the US and who can prove a credible fear of persecution in his home country and prove that the persecution is at the hands of the government and is because of the alien’s membership in a religious, ethnic, political or protected social group. More on asylum from USCIS.

An alien may be eligible for adjustment of status under INA section 245(i) if the alien has been present since at least December of 2000 and had an I-130, I-140 or Labor Certification application filed on his behalf before April 30, 2001. Certain history may make the alien ineligible for this form of relief. More on 245i from Attorney Carl Shusterman

Cancellation of Removal
An alien who is in deportation/removal proceedings may apply for a green card in front of a judge if the alien has been continuously present for at least ten years before being placed in removal proceedings, can prove exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a US citizen or permanent resident spouse, parent or child, and has been a person of good moral character (i.e. no arrests) for at least ten years. More info on Cancellation from EOIR

When a country experiences a major natural disaster or war the government may place that country on the list for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). If an alien is present in the US in any status or out of status when his country is placed on the TPS list, he is eligible to apply for TPS, which gives temporary lawful status. Most grounds of inadmissibility will not prevent an alien from getting TPS. More info on TPS from USCIS

Victims, Witnesses, & Other
There are types of relief are available to victims of severe trafficking and criminal acts (T and U visas), victims of domestic violence at the hands of a US citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent (VAWA), and material witnesses to crimes (S visas). There are also several other rare types of relief, most of which are only available to people who have been in the US for at least fifteen years. Always discuss your options with an attorney. More on relief for victims from USCIS