SIJS(VA)/Children’s Asylum: Young girl from Honduras needs help escaping her father’s abuse.

Sadia* is a 14-year-old girl from Honduras. Sadia is afraid to return to Honduras because she believes she will be targeted by her abusive father. Sadia’s father abused her mother, her siblings, and her while they lived in Honduras. When Sadia’s mother fled to the US, Sadia lived with her father but had to move in with her grandparents after two months because of the abuse. Sadia saw her father a couple of times a month after she moved out, but he did not provide financial or emotional support to Sadia. Since arriving in the US and reuniting with her mother and siblings, Sadia spoke with her father on the phone a few times. Due to her father’s neglect and abuse, Sadia is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Sadia is looking for an attorney to represent her in all aspects of her SIJS proceedings and, alternatively, help her pursue Asylum or Withholding of Removal due to her fear of returning to Honduras.

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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Sadia* is a 14-year-old girl from Honduras. Sadia is afraid to return to Honduras because she believes she will be targeted by her abusive father. Sadia’s father abused her mother, her siblings, and her while they lived in Honduras.

 

When Sadia’s mother fled to the US, Sadia lived with her father for two months, but had to move in with her grandmother due to the extreme abuse. Sadia saw her father a couple of times a month after she moved out, but he did not provide financial or emotional support to Sadia. Since arriving in the US and reuniting with her mother and siblings, Sadia spoke with her father on the phone a few times.

 

Sadia is particularly afraid of returning to Honduras because she did not tell her father that her mother was going to flee. During Sadia’s life, her father would threaten her siblings and her with a machete anytime her mother would run away.

 

Due to her father’s neglect and abuse, Sadia is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a statutory form of relief that combines both state court and federal immigration components. Sadia is looking for an attorney to represent her in all aspects of her SIJS proceedings and, alternatively, help her pursue Asylum or Withholding of Removal due to her fear of returning to Honduras.

 

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

 

In order to assist Sadia, 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: Loudoun 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