SIJS (MD): GIRL WHO WAS NEGLECTED BY BOTH PARENTS AND FORCED TO LEAVE SCHOOL OUT OF NECESSITY NEEDS ATTORNEY (Nora)

 

Nora* is a 17-year-old girl from Honduras. Nora came to the U.S. in 2022 in order to live with her sister, after spending her whole life caring for parents who completely neglected her. Nora’s parents were regularly sick and unable to work, forcing Nora and her siblings to run the family farm and take care of them. Because Nora had to work at such a young age, she dropped out of school when she was just 12 years old. When she was 15, her parents allowed a 33-year-old man to enter into a relationship with Nora and move in with her and the rest of the family. Nora came to the U.S. to help support her family back in Honduras, and is also currently pregnant so she will soon have her own child to support. Because of the complete neglect by both her parents, Nora is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). She 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.       

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Nora* is a 17-year-old girl from Honduras. Growing up, Nora was not allowed to live the life of a regular child. Because her parents were sick, Nora was forced to tend to their farm and take care of them even if it meant skipping school. Nora eventually dropped out of school at the age of 12 in order to care for her parents full time. Her siblings helped her grow coffee and bananas that they would sell to cover the expenses of the family. Neither parent provided financially for Nora. When Nora was just 15 years old, her parents allowed a 33-year-old man to enter into a relationship with her and move in with her and the rest of the family.  

 

Nora came to the U.S. in 2022 to help her parents by working and sending money back to them in Honduras, and to live with her sister who was able to take care of her. Upon her arrival she discovered that she was 2 months pregnant; she is now 6 months pregnant. Her 33-year-old boyfriend, the baby’s father, attempted to travel to the U.S. to be with Nora but died on the trip; it is unclear how he died. Because of the neglect she endured from both her parents, Nora is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). She has no viable caregiver in Honduras and hopes to stay in Maryland where she has reunified with her sister.   

 

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

 

  • Timeline: Nora 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 8 to 10  months). 

  • Location: Baltimore County, MD (not detained) 

  • Language: Spanish - will require a fluent Spanish-speaking pro bono team member or a translator    

 

For more information about this case, please contact Jennifer Grishkin, Managing Attorney for Pro Bono Coordination, at jennifer@caircoalition.org

*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy