Immigrant Status For Child Survivors Of Abuse
Children who arrived in this country as survivors of abuse from one or both parents should not be forced to return to their country of origin. To protect minors from having to return to a life involving physical or sexual abuse, the United States offers Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) as an option to keep them safe in this country.
Qualifying For SIJS
To qualify for SIJS, you must:
- Be under 21 years old
- Live in the U.S. currently
- Be unmarried
- Have a state court order from a juvenile court
The court order must come from a state court that has jurisdiction over the juvenile, often a juvenile court. The order must state that the juvenile is dependent on the court, a state agency or a court-appointed individual. The order must also say that the juvenile cannot be reunited with one or both of their parents due to abuse, neglect or abandonment and that not returning the youth to their country of origin is in their best interests.
Once a state court judge issues the order, the juvenile can petition for SIJS. Immigration officials tend to defer to juvenile judge decisions when it comes to determining the juvenile’s best interests. Once obtained, SIJS is a pathway to permanent residency status (a “green card”) and, after five years, U.S. citizenship, if the juvenile wants it.
Experienced Immigration Attorneys Who Stand Up For Abuse Victims
The immigration attorneys of Palacios Law Group can help you or a minor in your care obtain SIJS and flee domestic violence or neglect. Our managing partner, Xavier A. Palacios, is one of New York’s leading immigration attorneys. We use our years of experience and the latest technology to deliver results for our clients.
Schedule a free consultation about SIJS today. Contact Palacios Law Group at 516-712-2303 to make an appointment. Our office is in Mineola, and we serve clients in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island.