SIJS: Salvadoran Sisters Want to Stay with their Mom in Maryland

Alejandra* and Yasmina* are 7- and 10-year-old sisters from El Salvador who are currently living in Frederick County, MD with their mother. Their fathers abandoned them and their mother after they were born and they have had no contact with their fathers since then. Based on their fathers’ abandonment, they are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Alejandra and Yasmina seek an attorney to represent them in all aspects of their SIJS proceedings. 

 

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney.  Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.  

 

***

Alejandra and Yasmina are 7 and 10-year-old sisters from El Salvador who are currently living in Frederick County, MD with their mother. Their fathers abandoned them and their mother after they were born and they have had no contact with their fathers since then. While in El Salvador, the siblings lived with their grandparents while their mother lived in the United States working and sending money back for the household. Their mother always remained in contact with the girls while they were apart, calling them regularly.

 

Alejandra’s father left her mother shortly after she was born and they have had no contact with him since them. Yasmina’s father has never been involved in her life, though he did call once when their mother was pregnant with Alejandra. While it has not been confirmed, it is believed that he is now in prison in North Carolina for raping another one of his daughters.

 

Alejandra and Yasmina are eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by their fathers. SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children under the age of 21 who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents, and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest. SIJS requires three approvals, one from a state family court and two from USCIS. Because a state family court order is required, the attorney who represents Alejandra and Yasmina will need to be barred in Maryland or obtain court permission to appear pro hac vice. 

 

Among the reasons that it would not be in the sisters' best interest to return to El Salvador is that their grandfather would hit them with his hands or a belt if they "disobeyed." It is possible that these facts, if developed, could rise to the level of persecution for the purposes of asylum. 

 

Alejandra and Yasmina do not currently have any hearings scheduled in removal proceedings.

 

Timeline:No Immigration Court hearings scheduled; State court custody hearing for SIJS ideally within 4 to 6 months, followed by USCIS filing (approvals can take 10 to 12 months). 

Location: Frederick County, MD (non-detained, with mother) 

Language: Spanish

 

For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney Jennifer Grishkin at jennifer@caircoalition.org or 202-866-9287.

 

 

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy

Sample?
No
Opportunity?
On

SIJS: Salvadoran Girl Abandoned by Father Wants To Stay with Mother in Maryland

Fiona* is an 18-year-old girl from El Salvador who has had no interaction with her father since he and her mother separated when she was about 7 years old. Her parents separated due to Fiona’s father’s chronic alcoholism and abuse of his family. She came to the United States in order to escape the danger of her home country with the support of her mother, who had come to the United States eight years ago. She currently lives with her mother in Maryland. Due to the abuse and neglect of her father, Fiona is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Fiona seeks an attorney to represent her in all aspects of her SIJS proceedings.

 

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney.  Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.  

 

******

 

Fiona* is an 18-year-old girl from El Salvador who has had no interaction with her father since he and her mother separated when she was about 7 years old. Her parents separated due to Fiona’s father’s chronic alcoholism and abuse of his family. Fiona came to the United States in order to escape the danger of her home country with the support of her mother, who had come to the United States 8 years ago.

 

Fiona and her entire family suffered at the hands of her father. However, her mother chose to separate from him because of his refusal to support her children, the fact that he had multiple relationships outside of his relationship with Fiona’s mother, and the fact that Fiona’s father often forced Fiona’s mother to have unprotected sex with him because he believed it was her responsibility to give him children. When Fiona’s mother told him that she would be leaving him, he said that he would have nothing to do with their children if she separated from him. This is a promise he has made good on, as Fiona has had no contact with him since she was 8 years old.

 

Shortly after the separation of Fiona’s parents and the subsequent abandonment of Fiona and her siblings by their father, Fiona’s mother moved to the United States. Fiona then lived with her maternal grandmother, alongside her sisters, so that they would have some support while their mother was gone. This was Fiona’s situation until her mother asked her to come to the United States so that they could be together.

 

Fiona is eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by her father. SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children under the age of 21 who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents, and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest. SIJS requires three approvals, one from a state family court and two from USCIS. Because a state family court order is required, the attorney who represents Fiona will need to be barred in Maryland or obtain court permission to appear pro hac vice. 

 

In order to assist Fiona, a pro bono team will appear in state family court to obtain an order that he meets the requirements for SIJS; prepare and submit an SIJS application package with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; appear with the child at a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interview, if required; and handle the adjustment of status paperwork. There also may be one or more brief scheduling hearings (“master calendar hearing”) with an Immigration Judge. 

 

Currently, there are no hearings scheduled in Fiona’s removal proceedings. Fiona speaks Spanish and is living in Baltimore County, Maryland.

 

Timeline: No Immigration court hearings scheduled yet; State court custody hearing for SIJS ideally within 4 to 6 months, followed by USCIS filing (approvals can take 10 to 12 months). In response to COVID-19, the courts currently permit attorneys to attend all hearings telephonically.

Location: Baltimore County, Maryland. 

Language: Spanish

 

For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney Jennifer Grishkin at jennifer@caircoalition.org or 202-866-9287.

 

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy

Sample?
No
Opportunity?
On

SIJS: Salvadoran Siblings Abandoned By Father Want to Stay With Mother in Maryland

Alicia* and Gabriel* are 13- and 10-year-old children from El Salvador who are looking to remain in the United States with their mother. Seven years ago, they were abandoned by their father in El Salvador after their parents separated. Their father has not had any communication with them since the separation and does not support them financially or emotionally. They currently live in Montgomery County, Maryland with their mother. Based on their father’s abandonment, they are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Alicia and Gabriel are seeking an attorney to represent them in all aspects of his SIJS proceedings.

 

All CAIR Coalition matters placed with a pro bono team are robustly mentored by a CAIR Coalition attorney.  Our mentoring program includes an opening meeting to discuss the scope and process of the matter, provision of samples, guidance on the law, review of draft filings, assistance with client contact, and guidance on preparation for interviews and hearings.  

***

Alicia and Gabriel are 13- and 10-year-old children from El Salvador who want to remain in the United States with their mother. Seven years ago, they were abandoned by their father in El Salvador after their parents separated. Since their father separated from their mother they have not had any contact with him, and he has not provided any financial or emotional support to the children. After their father and mother separated, their mother traveled to the United States to work and send money back to them in El Salvador. They stayed with their maternal grandparents in El Salvador when their mother came to the United States. Their mother has continued to support them financially and emotionally.

 

Alicia and Gabriel are eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by their father. SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children under the age of 21 who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned, who cannot be reunified with one or both parents, and for whom returning to their home country is not in their best interest. SIJS requires three approvals, one from a state family court and two from USCIS. Because a state family court order is required, the attorney who represents these siblings will need to be barred in Maryland or obtain court permission to appear pro hac vice. 

 

In order to assist Alicia and Gabriel, a pro bono team will appear in state family court to obtain an order that the children meet the requirements for SIJS; prepare and submit SIJS application packages with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; appear with the children at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services interviews, if required; and handle the adjustment of status paperwork. There also may be one or more brief scheduling hearings (“master calendar hearing”) with an Immigration Judge. 

 

The siblings also have a 15-year-old sister with whom they share the same biological parents. Because they share the same biological father, we think it likely that the pro bono attorney would seek SIJS for her as well.

 

Currently, there are no hearings scheduled in Alicia or Gabriel’s removal proceedings.

 

Timeline: No scheduled Immigration Court hearings. State court custody hearing for SIJS ideally within 4 to 6 months, followed by USCIS filing (approvals can take 10 to 12 months). In response to COVID-19, the courts currently permit attorneys to attend all hearings telephonically. 

Location: Montgomery County, MD. 

Language: Spanish

 

For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney Jennifer Grishkin at jennifer@caircoalition.org or 202-866-9287.

 

 

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy

Sample?
No
Opportunity?
On

Pro Bono Alert: New Best Practices for Proposed SIJS Orders For State Court (Added 2017)

This Practice Advisory provides new best practices on how to best draft proposed predicate orders when proceeding in state court during a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”) case. In short, when drafting proposed SIJS orders, it is now recommended that draft orders cite, and speak to, the specific state laws.  

 

Attachment Size
SIJS Practice Pointer March 2017.pdf 147.87 KB
Categories
Secondary Resource Type
Sample?
Yes
Opportunity?
Off