March 31, 2014 – Citizen of Guatemala receives green card based on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Facts: On March 9, 2013, a citizen of Guatemala was in deportation proceedings. He came to the firm for help.

The Firm’s Representation: Our client was a minor. In addition, our client’s father had abandoned him when he was nine years old. The firm quickly realized that he could qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). SIJS is a three step process. First, a guardian for the minor must be appointed in the state court, and the state court must make special findings. Essentially, the state court must make a special finding (1) that the minor was subjected to abuse, neglect or abandonment by one or both parents and (2) that it is not in the best interest of the child to be returned to his home country. Once guardianship and the special finding have been made, the minor can self-petition for a visa with USCIS. The last step is that the minor can apply for a green card with USCIS. Our client was only two weeks away from turning 18 years old and the firm had to act quickly because the Maryland state courts have guardianship jurisdiction until the minor turns 18 years old. The firm expedited the guardianship proceedings and obtained the guardianship and special findings prior to our client turning 18. Then the firm filed our client’s self-petition, which was granted.

Outcome: On March 31, 2014, our client received his green card.