The Advisory Council on Immigration Issues in Family Court, a statewide program initiated by the New York State Office of Court Administration and co-chaired by Professor Theo Liebmann, director of Hofstra Law’s Youth Advocacy Clinic, and Judge Edwina Mendelson, has issued an Advisory Memorandum to assist Family Court jurists and advocates on issues frequently arising in requests for the State court special findings required by federal law for juveniles to obtain special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status.
The memo is the first in a series of memoranda, bench aids and other documents in preparation by the council to address the variety of immigration issues arising in and as a result of Family Court proceedings.
The focus on SIJ for the first memo arose from a number of factors. In the past five years, the number of children seeking refuge in the United States has increased dramatically. New York state, where many of them have relatives or other community connections, is a frequent destination. In fact, for immigrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, New York is the fourth-most common state destination, and Nassau and Suffolk counties are both among the top-10 most frequent county destinations.
The council’s next Advisory Memorandum, which will be released to the public soon, provides guidance on U visas, a form of immigration relief for victims of crimes.