In previous posts we have mentioned the complexity of immigration laws. While the more common paths to residency and even citizenship, may be well known, there may be other routes that could bring or keep someone in the United States that they are not aware of. One such law may pertain to some of the estimated 60,000 children who have been crossing into the U.S. over the last year or so, without their parents.
Though one woman who works in the field of immigration estimates that the law could probably only save around 10 percent of those minors, for those individuals, it may be worth pursuing. Known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, minors who qualify can get a green card. If after five years those individuals have learned the basics about the U.S. government and history, learned English and avoided legal trouble, they may be able to become a citizen as well.
To qualify for this program, which was first introduced in 1990 as a result of action taken by Congress, a young person must prove that he or she is the victim of neglect, abandonment or abuse. This must be proven not only as the state level, but the federal level as well.
Because it is fair to say that none of the minors who have made their way to the U.S. without their parents, did so only to be sent back to the country from there they came, if one could qualify for this, or any other immigration program, they probably want to apply for it. An immigration lawyer would probably be of assistance in the matter.
Source: CNN, “Little-known law allows abused immigrant children to stay in the U.S.,” Rafael Romo, June 30, 2014