U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has issued new green card rules for abused immigrant minors and expanded the eligibility requirements for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status for minors who need protection to become legal residents (green card holders) in the United States. New rules adopted by USCIS on March 7 streamline the SIJ process and clarify the types of evidence that must be submitted to support an SIJ application.
USCIS Director Ur Jaddou said the new policies would help children who are abused or abandoned rebuild their lives in the United States.
“These policies will provide humanitarian protection to vulnerable young people for whom a juvenile court has determined that it is in their best interest to remain in the United States.”
The new rules also clarify that individuals younger than 21 may apply for the SIJ program. According to the USCIS memo, USCIS to Offer Deferred Action for Special Immigrant Juveniles:
“U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that it is updating the USCIS Policy Manual to consider deferred action and related employment authorization for noncitizens who have an approved Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant, for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification but who cannot apply to adjust status to become a lawful permanent resident (LPR) because a visa number is not available.”
SIJ status is for children and young adults (18 to 21) who are in the United States and can prove they have been abused, abandoned or neglected by a parent, and want to apply for a green card. The special immigrant juvenile program was created in 1990 so that immigrants under 21 can apply for permanent residency in the United States if a state court determines that they need protection, and that returning to their home countries would be unsafe. Since 2010, more than 130,000 applications have been approved.
Do you have questions about qualifying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or do you need to talk to a juvenile immigration lawyer? Contact the experienced immigration lawyers at Godoy Law Office at 630-912-0322.