Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a niche within immigration law that allows an undocumented juvenile who is the victim of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, to obtain a green card – the ultimate pathway to citizenship. At Foster McCollam we do not handle immigration cases in immigration court; we assist immigration attorneys in obtaining predicate orders from the juvenile courts in Virginia. We present to the court evidence that the juvenile had been abused, neglected, or abandoned and ask the court to make written findings in the form of an order. That order is then provided to the immigration attorney who will follow through with filing the necessary documents in immigration court.
In most cases, these juveniles come to our office with one parent, a family member, or a friend who is seeking to obtain custody of the minor child. We then file a custody petition and ask the court to make the findings in a custody order. However, the findings can be made in any juvenile case that is properly before the court: delinquency matters, children in needs of supervision, children in needs of services, truancy cases, abuse and neglect proceedings, etc. However, the court cannot go back in time to make these findings; therefore, it is of utmost importance that an undocumented minor child consult with an attorney who is well versed in the area of SIJS practice to screen for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status eligibility.