According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement ("ORR"), nearly 2,000 children in NC and 350 children in SC have been released from detention to a sponsor and resettled in the Carolinas. Many UACs may qualify for different forms of relief, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status ("SIJS"), asylum, immigrant visas, or some other form of humanitarian relief. However, many UACs often face obstacles in accessing legal assistance.
An attorney can make a tremendous difference in helping UACs and their sponsors by helping understand their legal rights and potential forms relief for which they may qualify.
How You Can Help?
Many UACs need effective legal representation during their removal proceedings and especially in custody proceedings in district court for those who are eligible for SIJS. Please consider donating your time, talent, and energy to helping UACs.
Legal Shepherds will need to help the UACs navigate both the immigration and family law side of an SIJS case, which first requires obtaining a court order declaring the UAC a dependent upon the court and placing the child in the custody of a legal guardian or parent. The UAC must then apply for a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service ("USCIS") to affirm that he or she is eligible for this status, with the help of a Legal Shepherd. In addition, the Legal Shepherd will have to navigate the UAC through the removal process in immigration court, informing the court of the progress of the case and seeking termination of the removal proceedings once the SIJS petition is approved, so that the UAC may apply for lawful permanent residency with USCIS.
Legal Shepherds will:
Legal Shepherds will not:
Work alongside the CIR and Compassionate Shepherd to obtain the necessary information regarding the child's history, and analyze what relief, if any, the child has from deportation.
Be in contact with the child and guardian to further assess the child's relief and to prepare that relief.
File custody complaints in local district family court to show that child is a dependent upon the court for SIJS purposes.
Once custody order is obtained, file I-360 SIJS petition.
Attend a maximum of three Master Calendar Hearings in Immigration Court in Charlotte, North Carolina with child and guardian.
Once I-360 petition is approved, file motion to terminate court proceedings and file I-485 application for residency with USCIS
The one who denies justice to a foreigner, a fatherless child, or a widow is cursed.' And all the people will say, 'Amen!' Deut 27:19
Be responsible for covering any court, application, or translation fees.