Legal Aid Society


A Victory for Young Immigrants

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

A Victory For Young Immigrants
The Legal Aid Society is proud to give a voice to immigrants in need. In the last two years, our work has become more important than ever before. President Trump has struck fear into the hearts of immigrant communities, launching destructive policies to tear families apart. Thankfully, The Legal Aid Society is standing firm in our defense of vulnerable New Yorkers.

What is SIJS?
The Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS, offers protections for immigrant children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected, allowing them to stay in this country legally and granting them a pathway to permanent residence and ultimately citizenship. Authorized by Congress in 1990, SIJS has helped thousands of young immigrants over the years.
President Trump’s Policy Change.

In April 2018, the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services began rejecting SIJS applications from some young New Yorkers. While the protected status is available to anyone under 21, the administration denied applications for those who were over 18 but not yet 21 when they initially filed, arguing that New York City’s Family Courts lack jurisdiction for people over 18. This unlawful policy change threatened the status of thousands of young New Yorkers.

Fighting For Young Immigrants 

Our Immigration Law Unit filed a lawsuit against the federal government in June 2018, advocating on behalf of the thousands of New Yorkers who had been unlawfully denied SIJS protections. After months of fighting, we finally won. Just a few weeks ago, a judge ruled in our favor, stating that the Trump administration had broken the law and wrongfully denied young immigrants the protections they deserve.