Attorney Alex Mooradian obtained an order of Special Findings of Fact and Rulings of Law, as well as a Decree of Custody, for a young man from El Salvador. The client, a teenager who was forced to flee to the United States by foot and on bus, endured a traumatizing journey to the United States.
The child was abandoned by his parents from a young age, and was forced to eventually flee his home due to threats of gang violence. Indeed, there was nowhere in El Salvador where he felt safe from gang threats, especially where gangs attempt to force recruitment among boys of this client's age. Upon arrival in the United States, however, the child was caught by immigration and placed in deportation proceedings.
Attorney Mooradian recognized that the client appeared eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a relief made available by statute, which provides an eventual path to citizenship for children who are under 21, unmarried, have been neglected, abused or abandoned by one or both parents, who are dependent upon a juvenile court and whose best interests are to remain in the United States instead of return to their country of origin.
This particular juvenile was abandoned by his father from a young age, and he only recently was able to reunite with his mother. Reunification with the father is impossible. Given the dangers in the country of origin, as opposed to the child's relative safety in the United States, the Probate and Family Court Judge granted the decree which will allow this child to apply to terminate his removal proceedings and pursue immigration benefits, including his green card.
In recent months, Massachusetts Courts, including the Supreme Judicial Court, have repeatedly affirmed and expanded probate and family courts' jurisdiction over immigrant juvenile matters such as this one. At the same time, however, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has looked at these cases with increasing scrutiny. Accordingly, immigration advocates must be increasingly careful in drafting complaints, affidavits, orders, and supporting materials to make sure that their client's applications reflect both that the probate and family court does have jurisdiction, and that the findings comport with those required under federal immigration laws.
Special immigrant juvenile cases can be complex, and they can require numerous court and agency appearances in a variety of settings. For this client, however, the order will provide access to benefits and the opportunity to potentially terminate the deportation proceedings against him.