Special Immigrant Juvenile

Certain aliens under the age of 21 who are declared to be court dependents may be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile status (SIJS). Being declared to be a Special Immigrant Juvenile allows the alien to petition for permanent resident status as a special immigrant in the EB4 category.

Special Immigrant Juvenile status

In order to be accorded Special Immigrant Juvenile status, a juvenile court located in the United States must declare the alien a dependent of the court or legally place the child under the custody a state agency, department or individual appointed by the state or a juvenile court in the United States. The court must also find that the child cannot be reunited with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis found in state law. Furthermore, it must be determined in either administrative or judicial proceedings that it is not in the alien’s best interest to be returned to his or her previous country of nationality or last habitual residence. If the alien is in the legal custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the alien must request permission from HHS in order for a juvenile court to legally place him or her somewhere else.

A petition for LPR Special Immigrant Juvenile status is filed on the Form I-360 petition. The relevant court order must be in effect when the Form I-360 is filed in order for it to be approvable. The alien must be unmarried and under the age of 21 as of the filing date of the Form I-360 and must be present in the United States. The alien must be unmarried during the adjudication of the Form I-360 in order to be eligible to be afforded Special Immigrant Juvenile status. An alien may file for adjustment of status concurrently with filing for SIJS if an immigrant visa number in the EB4 category is immediately available at the time that the petition is filed. Although an alien must be admissible in order to gain status as a Special Immigrant Juvenile, many forms of inadmissibility may be waived if it is demonstrated that such a waiver is in warranted due to humanitarian concerns or that the waiver is in the public interest.

Special Immigrant Juvenile status is an extremely valuable form of immigration relief for alien children who are neglected or abused by their parents. The process for gaining status as a Special Immigrant Juvenile is often quite complicated. At The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, PLLC, we have experience with applying our experience and expertise to assist in each step of a Special Immigrant Juvenile case.

Eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Classification

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) contains provisions providing for special protections for “special immigrant juveniles.” In general, an unmarried child under the age of 21 may be eligible for special immigrant juvenile classification if he or she has been subject to state juvenile court proceedings related to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or something similar under state law. Furthermore, the juvenile court must have determined that the child cannot be reunified with his or her parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment and that the child’s best interests would not be served were he or she to be returned to his or her home country. In this article, we will provide a general overview of the eligibility requirements for special immigrant juvenile classification with reference to the applicable statutes, regulations, judicial and administrative precedents, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Policy Manual (PM).

Evidentiary Requirements for Special Immigrant Juvenile Petitions and Adjudication Process

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), an unmarried child under the age of 21 may be eligible for what is called “special immigrant juvenile” classification if he or she is subject to state juvenile court proceedings related to findings of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or something similar in state law at the hands of one or both of the child’s parents. The juvenile court findings must also include that the child cannot be viably reunified with one parent due to one of the aforementioned grounds and that the child’s best interests would not be served by being placed in his or her country of nationality (or parents’ country of nationality). In this article, we discuss the petitioning process for special immigrant juvenile classification, including revocation of special immigrant juvenile status and administrative review.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Adjustment of Status

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant special immigrant juvenile classification to certain alien minors in the United States. The special immigrant juvenile provisions and associated adjustment of status provisions provide an important form of relief for certain abused and neglected alien children in the United States. In this article, we will examine the rules for seeking adjustment of status either in conjunction with an application for special immigrant juvenile classification or after the approval of an application for special immigrant juvenile classification.

USCIS Denying SIJ Petitions Based on NY Guardianship Orders Issued for Individuals Between Ages 18-21

Recent reports indicate that the USCIS has generally started denying special immigrant juvenile petitions based on guardianship orders obtained by aliens in New York when they were between the ages of 18 and 21. In this article, we will examine this development and discuss what it means for aliens in New York and in other states with similar laws.

CJLG v. Sessions, 880 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir. 2018): Obligation of IJ to Inform of Possible Eligibility for SIJ Classification

On January 29, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a published decision in C.J.L.G. v. Sessions, 880 F.3d 1122 (9th Cir. 2018). The case concerned a minor alien from Honduras who appealed from the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA’s) affirmation of an Immigration Judge’s decision denying his applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The main thrust of the alien’s appeal was that he had been deprived of his right to counsel appointed at government expense. In this article, we will focus specifically on a different aspect of the appeal: the claim that the alien’s due process rights were violated because the Immigration Judge’s failed to inform him of his possible eligibility for special immigrant juvenile classification. We will examine what this means going forward for individuals in immigration proceedings who may be theoretically eligible for special immigrant juvenile classification.