Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is available to many young arrivals from Central America and other regions during the recent increase of childhood arrivals to the United States. A competent attorney can greatly increase the likelihood of successful adjustment of status through this complicated but highly beneficial process.
The child must show that he or she:
The process includes obtaining an order from a State court (typically the probate court) as to the underlying facts of neglect, age, marital status, dependence on the court, and best interests . While state courts are not directly making an immigration determination, this predicate order is required before moving on to an I-360, or Special Immigrant Juvenile, interview with USCIS. Thereafter, the child can adjust status in either Immigration Court or at USCIS.
Practitioners and applicants should be careful to ensure that removal proceedings are either suspended or terminated while applying for relief through this process, and may be required to appear in immigration court one or several times while pursuing this relief. While state courts often question their jurisdiction after the child attains the age of 18, recent case law dictates that the courts do have jurisdiction beyond the age of 18 in Massachusetts.
This process can be quite complicated for individuals, and it is wise to speak with an attorney to determine eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.