Most in Need but Least Served: Legal and Practical Barriers to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for Federally Detained Minors

Family Court Review, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp. 621-628, 2012

10 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2012

See all articles by Jennifer Baum

Jennifer Baum

St. John's University School of Law

Alison Kamhi

Stanford Law School

C. Russell

Catholic Charities Community Services

Date Written: December 2, 2012

Abstract

Abused, neglected, and abandoned immigrant youth face numerous obstacles to physical safety, including potential repatriation (deportation) to abusive caretakers from whom they fled. In recognition of the special needs of abused children, Congress enacted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) to provide a previously unavailable child welfare defense to deportation. The remedy is contingent upon a State court declaration that the youth is, in fact, in need of protection. However, unlike their counterparts in foster care or guardianships, youth detained by the federal government face numerous practical and legal roadblocks to accessing the necessary State court declarations. This article identifies several gaps in State laws which impede detained youths’ access to State court declarations, and proposes several remedies which would enable the States to carry out Congress’ intent that detained youth have access to SIJS, regardless of detention status.

Keywords: Special Immigrant Juvenile, Unaccompanied, Alien, Detained, Minor, Family, Juvenile

Suggested Citation

Baum, Jennifer and Kamhi, Alison and Russell, Charles, Most in Need but Least Served: Legal and Practical Barriers to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for Federally Detained Minors (December 2, 2012). Family Court Review, Vol. 50 No. 4, pp. 621-628, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2183987

Jennifer Baum

St. John's University School of Law ( email )

8000 Utopia Parkway
Jamaica, NY 11439
United States
718-990-1424 (Phone)
718-990-6696 (Fax)

Alison Kamhi (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Charles Russell

Catholic Charities Community Services ( email )

1099 Jay Street, Building J
Rochester, NY 14611
United States

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