IMMIGRANT CHILDREN & UNACCOMPANIED MINORS: A Legal Services Manual
Download the manual here. This Center for Human Rights Manual covers information on
- Basic immigrant law
- Who can adjust immigrant status
- Rights of children subject to deportation, removal, or inadmissibility
- Public benefits for immigrant children (i.e. CalWORKS, food stamps, etc)
- How to avoid a removal order
- Prosecutorial discretion
- If the child's parent gets removed
IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT (ICE) PARENTAL INTERESTS DIRECTIVE
In 2013, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a Parental Interests Directive to provide federal guidelines regarding immigration enforcement against parents and legal guardians. The Directive emphasizes that ICE should respect an immigrant parent's rights and responsibilities, and seeks to ensure that "immigration enforcement activities do not unnecessarily disrupt" parental rights.
For a resource summarizing the key provisions of the Directive and providing tips to those working within the dependency system on how to best ensure an immigrant parent can meaningfully participate in dependency proceedings go here.
SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILES STATUS
One of the most vulnerable segments of society is undocumented, abused children removed from the home and placed in the care and custody of the State. In addition to the threat of arrest, detention, and deportation, undocumented minors are unable to obtain lawful employment and/or attend college. For that reason, the U.S. Congress created two separate provisions under federal law to allow immigrant children to obtain lawful permanent resident status or a "green card." Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a federal law that assists certain undocumented children in obtaining legal permanent residency. Persons under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court who are eligible for long term foster care due to drug abuse, abandonment or neglect may qualify for SIJS and based on that, apply for adjustment of status to a Lawful Permanent Resident. In California, non-parent child placement decisions are made in juvenile dependency and delinquency court and probate court. Typically SIJS is granted to children in juvenile dependency court who are placed in foster care. Children under the jurisdiction of the juvenile delinquency court may also be eligible for SIJS. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a way for a dependent of juvenile court to become a permanent resident of the United States (i.e., get a "green card"). If the juvenile applies for this status and is successful, s/he may remain in the U.S., work legally, qualify for in-state tuition at college, and in five years apply for U.S. citizenship. However, if the application is denied, the child might be deported.
Who qualifies for SIJS?
Who can complete the application?
The INS will grant the applicant employment authorization as soon as the application is filed, and schedule a date for the SIJS interview. Generally, the INS will decide the case at the time of the SIJS interview.
NOTE: It is important to apply for SIJS as soon as possible while the child is a juvenile court dependent because the process may take from 6 to 18 months after submitting the application to get an SIJS interview. If the child is emancipated before the interview takes place, the current INS policy is to deny the case.
For more information, download the The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law's Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) Manual.
UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN RELEASED TO SPONSORS
HOW TO GET A MINOR TO COURT
CIS POLICY MANUALS ON SIJS
This manual is prepared by David B. Thronson professor of Law at Michigan State University and produced via FOIA request of Carlos Holguin, General Counsel for Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law.
For the Consolidated Handbook of Adjudication Procedures, click here.
For the USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 6, click here.