SIJS: Honduran Child Who was Abandoned by his Father and Threatened by a Gang Wants To Stay with his Mother in Maryland
Jose* is a child from Honduras. When he was 2 years old, Jose’s father abandoned him and his mother and never supported him financially or even contacted him after that point. Jose came to the United States after gangs started trying to recruit him and threatening him. He currently lives with his mother in Maryland. He is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) based on his father’s abandonment.
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Jose* is a 12 year old boy from Honduras. He lived with both of his parents until the age of two, when his father abandoned him and his mother. Jose’s mother could not make enough money to support herself and her family after Jose’s father abandoned them, so she came to the United States in 2016 in order to make ends meet.
After his mother moved to the United States, Jose moved in with his maternal grandparents with support and contact from his mother, which continued until 2019. In September 2019, a gang began trying to recruit Jose as a drug dealer. When Jose resisted, the gang threatened to falsely report him to the police for selling drugs. Fearing for his safety and not wanting to become a gang member or a drug dealer, Jose fled to the United States.
Jose is eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by his 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.
In order to assist Jose, a pro bono team will appear in state family court to obtain an order that the child 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 may also be a brief scheduling hearing with an Immigration Judge.
Jose speaks Spanish and is living in Baltimore County, Maryland.
For more information about this case, please contact Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney Jennifer Grishkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-866-9287.
*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy