SIJS (VA): Help young boy stay safe in the US after his mother abandoned him in El Salvador.

Noah* is an 11 -year-old boy from El Salvador. Noah’s mother, who was a drug addict, abandoned him right after he was born. Noah’s father was unable to care for him because he was searching for employment. Noah lived with a family friend for over 10 years. After the family friend died, Noah’s father took care of him for a few months, but it was difficult because his father suffers from a physical illness. Once Noah arrived in the US, he reunified with his paternal uncle in Virginia. Due to his mother’s abandonment, Noah is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Noah is looking for an attorney to represent him 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.  

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Noah* is an 11 -year-old boy from El Salvador. Noah’s mother, who was a drug addict, abandoned him right after he was born. Noah’s family does not know where she is or how to contact her.

 

Noah’s father was unable to care for him because he was searching for employment. Noah lived with a family friend for over 10 years. After the family friend died, Noah’s father took care of him for a few months, but no longer could care for him because his father suffers from a physical illness. Noah also stopped going to school while he was with his father because he could not afford it. There is no adult who could properly care for Noah if he returned to El Salvador.

 

Once Noah arrived in the US, he reunified with his paternal uncle in Virginia. Due to his mother’s abandonment, Noah is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Noah is looking for an attorney to represent him in all aspects of his SIJS proceedings.

 

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 Noah will need to be barred in Virginia or obtain court permission to appear pro hac vice. 

 

In order to assist Noah, a pro bono team will appear in state family court to obtain an order that he meets the requirements for SIJS; prepare and submit a SIJS application package with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; appear with him 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. 

 

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: Fairfax County, VA.

 

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