Celebrating an Important Victory for Vulnerable Immigrant Youth
We are thrilled to announce an important case victory for many vulnerable immigrant youth!
To protect youth under 21 years of age who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, congress created Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). SIJS provides these young people with lawful immigration status, helping ensure that they are able to find safety and security in the United States. However, in February of 2018, the government adopted a new policy seeking to limit SIJS benefits to only children under 18 years of age.
But on July 17th, a US District Court judge ruled that this policy was in violation of the law. In his ruling, the judge ordered that the government must reopen any SIJS petition that was denied based on their illegal policy.
We brought this case on behalf of three young people, one of whom has been locked up at the Northwest Detention Center for over 18 months and had been ordered deported after the government denied his SIJS petition. In more good news, the judge certified the case as a class action, meaning that all youth in Washington State who had already turned 18 but filed or will file their applications before turning 21 can no longer have their applications rejected based on the government’s bad policy.
This order grants critical relief to many vulnerable youth in Washington State. Because of this ruling, these clients will finally have access to the protection they deserve.