As a Miami immigration lawyer, I sometimes appear in Juvenile/Dependency  Court to represent minors in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petitions (SIJS). I was recently quoted in the August 4th, 2015 issue of the Bloomberg BNA Family Law Reporter (Vol 1, No. 37). Below is a portion of the article:

Aliens & Citizenship Private Dependency Petition Fails For Teenage Illegal Immigrant Seeking SIJS

A private dependency petition filed on behalf of a 17-year-old illegal immigrant from Guatemala was properly denied where he was being well cared for by a relative, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled July 22 (O.I.C.L. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 BL 233395, Fla. Dist. Ct. App., No. 4D15-53, 7/22/15). Opening the door on the case’s wider implications, the court found that the true purpose of the petition was to enable the child to meet the federal requirements for a Special Immigration Juvenile Status visa, which man-date that: (1) he had been adjudicated dependent, and (2) the dependency court found it would not be in his best interest to be returned to his country of origin. This led the court to discuss the misuse of private petitions in such cases, as well as the absence of any requirement for temporal proximity between the alleged dependency grounds and the filing of the petition. It set out guidance for the proper handling of these private petition dependency cases.

Life-Threatening Risks.

In a July 30 e-mail to Bloomberg BNA, Miami immigration attorney Michael G. Murray said that this case ‘‘is really heartbreaking in terms of cutting off potential relief to minors who entered the U.S. without documents.’’

Murray stated that ‘‘[d]espite the lack of temporal guidelines given in the statute as to proximity of abandonment, neglect, or abuse to the date the dependency petition is filed, the Court should have given more attention to the fact that this child, like many similarly situated children, traveled to the U.S. without the supervision of parents.’’

‘‘Based on the life-threatening risks inherent in these journeys, the very fact that the parent(s) failed to prevent such journey from taking place is strong evidence of abandonment and/or neglect, which should have satisfied the Court’s requirement for temporal proximity,’’ Murray asserted.

For a copy of the Bloomberg Family Law Reporter article, click here:

Bloomberg Family Law Reporter

For a copy of the decision, click here:

If you would like more information on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions, please contact Miami immigration lawyer Michael G. Murray, Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at

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