Resources Re: Immigrant and Refugee Minors

  • 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 abuse, abandonment or neglect may qualify for SIJS and based on that, apply for adjustment of status to a Lawful Permanent Resident (continue reading)
  • 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 to:
  •  How to Get a Minor to Court: The National Immigrant Women’s Advocacy Project (NIWAP) has prepared a report on best practices for judges, attorneys and advocates on how to secure the attendance, in court proceedings, of immigrants including minors who are being detained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) so that immigrants can participate in dependency court proceedings involving children or criminal court proceedings. (Download Handout)
  • Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors: When a child who is not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian is apprehended by immigration authorities, the child is transferred to the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).  Federal law requires that ORR feed, shelter, and provide medical care for unaccompanied children until it is able to release them to safe settings with sponsors (usually family members), while they await immigration proceedings. This website provides state data of unaccompanied children released to sponsors.
  • The Flow of Unaccompanied Children Through the Immigration System: Unaccompanied children placed in immigration proceedings in the United States are likely to encounter a complex web of policies and practices, numerous government agencies—each acting in accordance with a different mission and objective—and a legal process that often takes years to resolve.  This is a resource created by the Center on Immigration and Justice for practitioners, policy makers and researchers.  (Read More)