Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS): Two Paths for Protection and Residency

In the complex landscape of U.S. immigration law, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) stand as important avenues for individuals seeking protection and lawful status. SIJS provides a path for vulnerable immigrant children who have faced abuse, neglect, or abandonment. We will explore the SIJS process, examine why it is often overlooked, and highlight its appropriateness for those who may have missed the opportunity to qualify for DACA. 


Understanding SIJS: 

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a humanitarian immigration benefit available to immigrant children in the United States who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment by one or both parents. SIJS provides a pathway to lawful permanent residency, offering long-term stability, educational opportunities, and potential pathways to citizenship. 


To qualify for SIJS, an individual must meet specific eligibility requirements, including being under 21 years old, dependent on a juvenile court, unable to reunite with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and having a determination that it is not in their best interest to return to their home country.


Reasons SIJS Is Overlooked: 

Despite its potential benefits, SIJS is often overlooked as a solution for several reasons: 


Lack of Awareness: 

Many immigrants and their families are unaware of the SIJS process and its eligibility criteria. Limited access to reliable information, language barriers, and fear of seeking legal help may contribute to the lack of awareness surrounding this option. 



The SIJS process involves multiple steps, including obtaining a state court dependency order, filing immigration petitions, and navigating the legal system. Its complexity and the need for coordination between state courts and immigration agencies can deter individuals from pursuing this option without proper guidance. Leila Parviz our SIJS attorney, has extensive experience navigating state and family courts as both an Immigration and Family Attorney. 



Misconceptions about eligibility requirements and misconstrued information about the consequences of pursuing SIJS may discourage individuals from considering it as a viable solution. It is crucial to address these misconceptions and provide accurate information to empower individuals to make informed decisions. 


SIJS as an Appropriate Option for DACA-Eligible Individuals: 

SIJS serves as an appropriate option for individuals who missed the opportunity to qualify for DACA due to age or other circumstances: 


Age Limit Flexibility: 

Unlike DACA, which requires individuals to have entered the United States before a specific cutoff date, SIJS eligibility is not restricted by age or entry date. This makes SIJS a potential alternative for those who arrived in the country after the DACA cutoff or who are currently over the age limit. 


Path to Permanent Residence: 

Upon obtaining SIJS, individuals can pursue lawful permanent residence (green card) through adjustment of status. This provides a more stable and long-term solution compared to the temporary relief offered by DACA. 


Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are two distinct yet important paths for individuals seeking protection and lawful status in the United States. While SIJS offers a pathway to permanent residence for vulnerable immigrant children, DACA provides temporary relief for undocumented individuals who arrived in the country as children. Despite the reasons why SIJS is often overlooked, it serves as an appropriate option for those who missed the opportunity to qualify for DACA. At the Immigration Law Offices of Hadley Bajramovic, we are dedicated 

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