CHILDREN/ JUVENILES/ HUMANITARIAN
CHILDREN/ JUVENILES/ HUMANITARIAN
Neri Law Offices has a family immigration attorney, an attorney specialized in family-based immigration law, who advocates for vulnerable members of our community. We strive to protect children, juveniles, and people who seek refuge in the United States.
RESIDENCY & U.S. CITIZENSHIP
You may be able to petition for a child to immigrate to the United States, even if the child is not your biological child if the person meets the definition of a “child” under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and other conditions are met. Neri Law Offices has a children’s immigration attorney who can help assess the best option.
Definition of “Child”
- A “child” is an unmarried person under twenty-one (21) years of age.
- You will be considered the child’s parent through adoption if you adopted the child before the child’s 16th birthday and meet other requirements.
- You will be considered the child’s stepparent and confer benefits to the child under immigration law if you married the child’s parent before the child’s 18th birthday.
Acquisition of Citizenship & Derivative Citizenship
- Acquisition of Citizenship for a child born abroad is complicated and requires that a family immigration attorney analyze immigration law and go through several requirements depending on whether the child is born in wedlock, out of wedlock, to a U.S. citizen mother, to a U.S. citizen father, as well as many additional factors.
- Children can also obtain citizenship as derivates when their parents naturalize or they are adopted by U.S. citizen parents, provided that certain conditions are met.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is immigration relief that requires the involvement of a state court for a child to be eligible to apply for immigration benefits.
- A noncitizen minor is eligible for SIJS if:
- He or she is under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court, including delinquency court or dependency proceedings;
- The court has made a finding that the juvenile cannot be reunited with at least one of his or her parents due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or some similar ground under state law; and
- It is not in the juvenile’s best interest to return to his or her home country or the country where his or her parents live.
A court is not required to formally terminate the juvenile’s parent’s rights. If the child is in removal proceedings, there is no reason to wait until the immigration court date to get started. Once the juvenile files for Adjustment of Status (green card application), he or she will be eligible for a work permit to work legally in the United States and the work permit also serves as a government-issued identification card.
Special Note on Criminal Convictions for Juveniles
It is important to note that juvenile adjudications are not convictions for immigration purposes and do not carry the same immigration consequences as convictions in adult court. However, it is necessary to consult a juvenile’s criminal record with an experienced immigration attorney before filing any application as many juvenile adjudications can trigger “conduct-based” grounds of inadmissibility and deportability for noncitizens.
DEFERRED ACTION FOR CHILDHOOD ARRIVALS
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a form of prosecutorial discretion that provides a work permit and protection from removal from the United States for a two-year period for certain eligible undocumented youth. Neri Law Offices processes both first-time DACA applications and renewals. We also have experience processing Advance Parole applications for brief travel outside of the United States. To be eligible for DACA:
- The applicant must be at least 15 years old at the time of filing the request, and have been under age 31 as of June 15, 2012;
- The applicant must have established residence in the United States before their 16th birthday;
- The applicant must have continuously resided in the United States since at least June 15, 2007, to the present;
- The applicant must have been physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making the request for DACA;
- The applicant must have entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or their lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012 (i.e. they were undocumented as of June 15, 2012 even though they previously had a visa);
- The applicant must be currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school or GED certificate, or be an honorably discharged veteran of U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces; and
- The applicant cannot have been convicted (as an adult) of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and cannot otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Individuals who are renewing their DACA status must show that they have been granted DACA before, continuously resided in the United States since their last DACA application, have not left the United States after August 15, 2012 without Advance Parole, and continue to meet the criminal requirements above.
- If you qualify for Advance Parole, on your return from a brief trip abroad you will be admitted to the United States and will have an admission, also known as a legal entry. This can prove to be a huge benefit for someone who has a petitioner and would like to seek a green card in the United States. To read more, please visit the Residency & Citizenship page under Legal Services.
- USCIS will determine whether the purpose of travel is justifiable based on the individual circumstances described in an individual’s request. Generally, however, USCIS will grant Advance Parole to a DACA recipient only if the purpose of the intended travel is:
- Humanitarian purposes for travel include travel to obtain medical treatment, attend a family member’s funeral services, or visit an ill relative. Educational purposes for travel include semester-abroad programs and academic research, while employment-related reasons for travel include overseas assignments, interviews, conferences, training, or client meetings.
U VISA & VAWA SELF-PETITION
If your child has been a victim of a crime, he or she may qualify for a U Visa which can lead to a green card. In addition, as a parent or sibling of the child that was a victim of crime, you may qualify for a U Visa as a derivative beneficiary or even as a direct beneficiary for being an “indirect victim.” Further, battered alien spouses (men and women), parents, and children of United States citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents can self-petition for immigrant status under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) regardless of whether they entered the United States legally. The abuse can be either physical or psychological, including economic coercion, but must constitute “extreme cruelty.” Both processes allow you to request a work permit while your case is pending. To read more, please visit the Victims of Crime page under Legal Services.
TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) is a status that permits residence and employment authorization to noncitizens from certain enumerated countries that have experienced natural disaster, armed conflict, or other extraordinary and temporary conditions. A grant of TPS status allows a person to remain in the United States temporarily and work legally. TPS is still in place, but the program is due for termination for certain countries. Currently, there is active federal court litigation. If you have TPS status in the 6th, 8th, or 9th Circuit, you may qualify for Adjustment of Status. To read more, please visit the Residency and Citizenship page under Legal Services.
If you are an active-duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces, Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, or a veteran, you qualify to help your noncitizen parent(s), spouse, and/or child(ren) obtain a “parole in place” permit that may allow them to file for their green card and get an interview in the United States. If your family member does not qualify for a green card, s/he may be able to obtain a work permit and renew it yearly.
Pursuant to INA § 212(d)(5)(A), the Department of Homeland Security has the discretion to grant parole into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Neri Law Offices has a humanitarian immigration attorney that prepares humanitarian parole requests with an abundance of supporting documents to provide our clients their best shot at obtaining this travel document. USCIS weighs the positive factors against the negative factors and grants humanitarian parole on a case-by-case basis. One important factor that is considered is whether the beneficiary will have a means of support while in the United States.