Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is an immigration classification that protects juveniles who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent. Special immigrant juveniles whose petitions are approved can also be eligible for lawful permanent residency (a Green Card). This makes SIJS a powerful tool for young immigrants who need the protection of a juvenile court.
If you or a loved one has a juvenile in need of immigration protection, call Austin immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray as soon as you can. He has successfully helped many juveniles and families through immigration procedures and is ready to protect your rights.
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, a petitioner must meet a series of statutory requirements in order to be eligible for SIJS. These include logistical requirements (such as being in the United States at both the time you apply for SIJS and when a determination is made) and status requirements (such as being under the age of 21 at the time a petition is filed). One requirement that is causing legal complications the requirement that people applying for SIJS have a juvenile court order. A state juvenile court must issue an order stating that the juvenile is:
- Dependent on the court or in the custody of a court designee,
- Unable to be reunified with one or both parents due to abuse, abandonment, neglect or a similar provision in state law, and
- it is not in the juvenile’s best interests to return to the country of nationality or last habitual residence. Currently, a large class action lawsuit is challenging such court issues ordered in California.
The federal government has denied SIJS to a group of juveniles who obtained these orders from the California probate court. This a highly political lawsuit, in which the conservative federal government is challenging the motivations of the generally liberal California state courts. Its effect on SIJS petitions across the United States remains to be seen.
Two other procedural requirements for SIJS can also cause complications:
- First, the juvenile must be eligible for the consent of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This means that USCIS agrees that the juvenile obtained his or her state court order in order to obtain relief from abuse, abandonment or neglect, and not to obtain an immigration benefit. Because this consent is entirely at the discretion of USCIS, political maneuvering and bureaucracy can invade valid SIJS petitions.
- Second, the juvenile must have the written consent of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is only needed if the juvenile is in HHS custody and the juvenile court order changed the juvenile’s custody status or placement.
Call Us Today to Schedule a Case Evaluation with an Austin Immigration Attorney
The legal system protects any child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by his or her parents, but immigrant children are particularly vulnerable when these situations arise. To schedule a case evaluation with Austin immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, call us today at (512) 215-4407 or contact us online.
View more contact information here: Austin Immigration Attorney.