Nina* is a 12-year-old girl from Honduras. Nina’s mother became pregnant with Nina when she was 16 years old; Nina’s father was 26. Nina’s father left the family when Nina was just 3 months old after cheating on Nina’s mother. As a result, her mother was forced to act as the family's sole provider. Nina’s father never made an attempt to reconnect with Nina and has never expressed interest in her life. Due to her father’s neglect and abandonment, Nina is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). Nina is seeking a pro bono attorney to represent her in her immigration proceedings and all aspects of her SIJS application. 

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.     


Nina* is a 12-year-old girl from Honduras. When Nina was three months old, her mother found out that her boyfriend, Nina’s father, had been cheating on her with a neighbor. As a result of his infidelity, Nina’s mother split up with him and moved to another city. After the breakup, Nina was never contacted by her father and would only speak to him if she actively sought to reach out to him. While growing up in Honduras Nina was witness to gang crime and violence. On one occasion members from a local gang fired multiple shots into the walls of Nina’s family home, targeting her brothers' father. Though nobody was injured by the shooting, Nina and her family became afraid for their lives. Nina attended school in Honduras up until the 7th grade, at which point her family no longer had the resources to afford school. Nina moved with her mother and brother to the United States in order to be able to afford an education for Nina and medication for her brother. Nina now lives in Maryland with her mother, brother and ex-uncle-in-law. If Nina is deported back to Honduras there will be nobody that can take care of her, and she will be left to fend for herself at 12 years of age. 

Nina plans on starting at a public school in Maryland in the fall. Her father has never tried to get in contact with her, and has never financially supported her. Nina speaks to him at most twice a year, but only when she tries to reach out.  

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 Nina will need to be barred in Maryland or obtain court permission to appear pro hac vice. 

  • Timeline: Nina does not have any hearings scheduled currently. State court custody hearings for SIJS ideally occur within 4 to 6 months, followed by USCIS filing (approvals can take 4 to 8 months).    

  • Location: Baltimore County, MD (not detained)    

  • Language: Spanish - will require a fluent Spanish-speaking pro bono team member or an outside interpreter

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 

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