Pro Bono Alert - SIJS in Virginia

This June, the Court of Appeals of Virginia issued a troubling decision concerning the ability of Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judges to issue orders that would allow an undocumented child who has been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a federal form of immigration relief. The case, Edy Canales v. Marvin Alejandro Torres Orellana, has been interpreted by some to limit or preclude a judge’s ability to make the findings needed to apply for SIJS. As a result, attorneys have faced an increasingly challenging and unknown landscape in JDR courts and children with previously strong cases (and cases that would be viable in other states) are being denied the ability to apply for SIJS. In some cases this puts children at risk of deportation.

We at CAIR Coalition are working hard to stay up to date on case law and the current practices of JDR judges in the courts in which we practice. We have revised our petitions and motions accordingly and are continually revising our in-court strategy based on the latest information from our attorneys and other attorneys practicing in the area. We have reached out to our CAIR Coalition pro bono attorneys with SIJS cases in Virginia and are working hand-in-hand with our networks to continue to provide the best representation possible for the young people we represent. 

If you have questions about your pro bono SIJS case in Virginia, please reach out to your CAIR Coalition mentor.