On April 9, 2019, U.S. District Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York finalized his March 15 judgement order. Judge Koeltl determined that the Department of Homeland Security’s unspoken policy of denying Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status petitions for those over the age of 18 was in violation of the law. As a result of this court order, juvenile immigrants between the ages of 18 and 21 who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent can now obtain legal status.
Those juvenile immigrants whose applications for SIJ were previously denied because of their age can now reopen their cases.
The Special Immigrant Juvenile Program (SIJ) was created in 1990 to help minors facing danger, neglect, or abuse in their countries find a pathway to citizenship in the United States. Up until early last year, all qualified immigrants under the age of 21 were able to apply for SIJ status through family courts and the Department of Homeland Security. In February of 2018, federal immigration authorities arbitrarily changed their interpretation of the law and began denying SIJ status to juvenile immigrants over the age of 18.
On March 15, 2019, the district court determined that this sudden change in policy violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). As a result, qualified petitioners between the ages of 18 and 21 can now confidently petition for SIJ status.
The continuing changes to immigration law can make it very difficult for immigrants to find clear and legal paths to permanent residency and citizenship in the U.S. Our NYC immigration attorneys will fight by your side to help make the American dream your reality. If you have questions about obtaining SIJ status or a recent SIJ denial, we can help.
To speak with a top NYC immigration attorney at Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP, call our office toll-free at 800-223-2814.
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