Teen Girl, Abandoned by Father, Wants to Remain with Sister in the U.S.

Amelia* is an 18-year-old girl originally from El Salvador who is eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.  Amelia and her mother were abandoned by Amelia's father when Amelia was still a baby and has never provided any financial or emotional support.  Amelia's mother is elderly, suffers from diabetes, and is unable to care for Amelia.  Amelia now lives with her sister in Baltimore, Maryland, and wants to stay with her. 


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.  



Amelia grew up in El Salvador after she and her mother were abandoned by her father when Amelia was still a baby.  Her father has never provided any emotional or financial support.  Her elderly, very ill, mother unsuccessfully sought to care for her.    In El Salvador, Amelia worked as a server in order to pay for her schooling and for her mother's medicine. 


Now that she is in the United States, Amelia is living with her sister in Maryland and doing well.  Amelia's sister and adult niece seek joint custody of Amelia.  


Amelia is eligible for SIJS due to abandonment by her father. SIJS is available to unaccompanied immigrant children 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 Amelia, 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.


Amelia speaks Spanish and is living in Baltimore, Maryland.  


For more information about this case, please contact Michael Lukens at 202-870-5962 or michael@caircoalition.org.


*Pseudonyms are used to protect privacy.