SIJS/Children’s Asylum: Guatemalan boy needs help escaping his abusive father.

Patricio* is a 14-year-old boy from Guatemala. Patricio is afraid to return to Guatemala because he believes he will be targeted by his abusive father, who is a gang member. Patricio’s father abused him and his mother until his parents separated when he was 3 years old. After the separation, Patricio’s father did not provide financially or keep in contact with Patricio. Since arriving in the US in 2020, Patricio has been living with his mother and aunt in Maryland. Due to the abuse and neglect of his father, Patricio is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Patricio is looking for an attorney to represent him in all aspects of his SIJS proceedings and, alternatively, help him pursue Asylum or Withholding of Removal due to his fear of returning to Guatemala.

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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Patricio* is a 14-year-old boy from Guatemala. Patricio is afraid to return to Guatemala because he believes he will be targeted by his abusive father, who is a gang member. Patricio’s father abused him and his mother until his parents separated when he was 3 years old. Patricio’s father went as far as to threaten to kill both Patricio and his mother.  After the separation, Patricio’s father did not provide financially or keep in contact with Patricio.

 

Patricio’s mother went to the US when he was 11 years old. She sent money every two months and called Patricio three times a week. During that time, Patricio living with his maternal grandparents. Patricio’ grandparents are no longer viable caretakers because they are elderly and suffer health issues, including severe complications due to diabetes.

 

Since arriving in the US in 2020, Patricio has been living with his mother and his US-citizen aunt in Maryland. Due to the abuse and neglect of his father, Patricio is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Patricio is looking for an attorney to represent him in all aspects of his SIJS proceedings and, alternatively, help him pursue Asylum or Withholding of Removal due to his fear of returning to Guatemala.

 

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

 

In order to assist Patricio, 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. 

 

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: 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