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Lost in the System-Helping Our Illegal Children- Special Juvenile Immigrant Visas and Adoptions

Lost in the System-Helping Our Illegal Children- Special Juvenile Immigrant Visas and Adoptions

Posted by: ScottMond Law Firm
August 12, 2011
Topic: Criminal Law & Immigration

The sad reality is that we have innocent children lost in our broken immigration system. With the recent blockage of the Dream Act, it is important to know that there are still remedies for children under the age of 18. The purpose of this blog post is to briefly address a couple of ways we can help minors achieve status in the United States.

Let's take the case of a U.S. Citizen (USC) who wants to adopt his or her nephew. The nephew is 10 years old, and from Mexico. He enters the U.S. with a visitor visa and overstays, or his parents cross the U.S. border with him and now are either detained or nowhere to be found. Is there any way to legalize the nephew's status? Intercountry adoption the way to go? How does this work?

State law, which we do not discuss in this article, is an important step here. State law determines adoption and custody rules for children. There are also Hague Convention Adoption laws which govern international adoption rules in the minor's country of birth. We do not recommend this approach because completing an intercountry adoption is expensive and time consuming. U.S. Federal Immigration laws determine how to proceed in legalizing a minor in the United States.

Once permanent guardianship is in place, you can go back to your state court and file a motion called a "motion for special findings." Once you get the special findings (an order signed by the judge that lists the Immigration Requirements) the child can file an I-360 for Special Juvenile Immigrant Status (SIJS).

Ultimately, the idea behind the SIJS is that a child who is here under a permanent/long-term order by the state court, and who has a finding from the state court that it is in the child's best interest to not be returned to their home country, is eligible to file for adjustment of status on his/her own.

After the child turns 18 and meets the other requirements, he can file for citizenship. If the family wants to adopt him, it is best to wait until after he gets the LPR because once he is adopted, he will not be able to file the I-360.

The above process requires a good family law and immigration attorney. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact our law firm at [email protected] or call us at our telephone numbers listed at

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