This module provides information on how and when family court judges issue the special findings necessary for a juvenile to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).
Lawful immigration status enables people:
- To achieve meaningful Permanency Planning
- To live and work legally in the U.S.
- To obtain other critical benefits (e.g., housing and medical care)
- To seek educational assistance and support
- To minimize risk of removal from the U.S. and traumatic separation from family and community
History & Purpose
- Established by Immigration Act of 1990, modified in 1993, and significantly expanded by the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (“TVPRA”);
- Aimed at protecting youth who are victims of abuse, abandonment, neglect, or similar family problems;
- Federal law recognizes the training and experience of juvenile court judges and other judicial professionals, and asks state courts to make certain determinations.
- Final SIJS eligibility determinations made by DHS; DHS or Immigration Judges determine green card eligibility.
Sources of Law
- Statutory Authority: INA § 101(a)(27)(J), codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J); Introduced in 1990 and amended in 1993; Significantly expanded by 2008 TVPRA
- Regulatory Authority: Regulations not yet modified to reflect 2008 TVPRA amendments
- USCIS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decisions
- USCIS Policy Memos State Juvenile Court decisions
- State Juvenile Court decisions