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Minor immigrants and special status: who's eligible?

The children of Georgia immigrants already face a host of legal concerns, yet they are particularly vulnerable when facing issues such as abuse or neglect. These children deserve protection and care, and there are legal options by which they can secure the help and security they deserve.

If you are under the age of 18 and are residing in the United States with no legal status, you may be eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile status. This step is appropriate for you if you are currently facing the threat of removal and yet have virtually no family support due to neglect, abuse and other issues.

Who needs SIJ status?

When immigrant parents die, are deported or end up behind bars, some of their children may fall through the proverbial cracks. These children could end up abandoned, abused or in various other negative situations. SIJ status can allow these children to effectively deal with the imminent threat of removal, thereby allowing them to seek the help they need.

If you are one of these children, and you want to stop the threat of deportation, you may be eligible for SIJ status if you meet the following requirements:

  • You are under the age of 21.
  • You are not married.
  • You are currently residing in the United States.
  • You have a state court order currently in effect.

Before you even make it that far in the process, a state court in Georgia must also decide the following:

  • You are a dependent of the court, or you are currently with a state agency.
  • You cannot or should not return to your home country.
  • You are not able to reunite with your parents due to neglect, abuse, incarceration or another reason.

SIJ status can provide protection to non citizen children who are currently at immediate risk of removal. If you can benefit from this type of status, you would be wise to take quick action to protect your rights.

Why do you need a lawyer?

The immigration system is complex, and it can be particularly difficult for a vulnerable minor who is facing threats of deportation. You do not have to navigate it alone but will find great benefit in seeking the support, guidance and counsel of an attorney who can advocate for your best interests and protect your rights. As a child of an immigrant, you have the right to know if seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile status is right for you. 

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