Congress enacted the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) recognizing the vulnerability of child victims of mistreatment through the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008, PUB.L.NO.110-457, 122STAT. 5044 (2008): INA §§ 101(a)(27)(J), 245(h), 8U.S.C.§§1101(a)(27)(J), 1255(h). The SIJS provision created a form of humanitarian relief for immigrant children who have been abandoned, abused, neglected, or similarly mistreated, as defined under state law.
To be eligible under SIJS, the child must first petition a state juvenile court to make certain factual findings before she/he can apply for immigration status from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To be exact, the state court must enter an order finding that 1) the child is either dependent on the court or should be placed under custody of an individual or entity designated by the court; 2) Reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, abandonment, neglect or similar basis under state law; and 3) It is not in the child’s best interest to return to his or his parent’s previous country of nationality. It must be noted that the INA prohibits a child from conferring immigration status to his or her biological or adoptive parents by way of SIJS.
Please be advised that the description of this process is general. It is advisable to obtain a competent immigration attorney to provide legal representation. If you feel you meet the requirements, please reach out to us to go over your case specifics