Merrill J. Clark, Esq.
28 Years Practicing Law in New York
SIJ – Special Immigrant Juvenile
English and Spanish
Special Immigrant Juvenile
Undocumented Minors May Be Legalized
Generally, if someone has entered the USA by the border without being legally admitted, good luck. There is little that can be done.
HOWEVER, one of the few exceptions to legalize an undocumented minor is a guardianship or custody petition in the New York Family Court. Guardianship/Custody is a process to name a person, including a parent, to be responsible for the minor until the age of 21. After the guardianship/custody order with the necessary immigration language is obtained in Family Court, the minor may then apply to U.S. immigration to be legalized as a permanent resident and later as a U.S. citizen. This is much faster, easier and cheaper than adoption and also fixes adoption problems.
No More Immigration Worries!
- The proposed guardian and other adults in the same house, should not have criminal or abuse backgrounds. New York State will do an investigation of all adults in the household.
- The minor needs to be younger than 21 and not presently married. (With a costly adoption, a youth needs to be under 16 years old to be legalized.)
Who am I?
- New York attorney since 1989 with experience in SIJ.
- Ex-law clerk to a federal judge.
- Experienced in obtaining guardianship and custody orders and legalizing undocumented youth.
What I do?
- Examine the situation to determine if both the minor and proposed guardian/parent qualify for a guardian/custody relationship. Yes, I make home visits.
- Prepare the guardianship/custody petition for the New York Family Court.
- Present evidence and testimony at a Family Court hearing to obtain the neccesary guardianship/custody order.
- Apply to immigration to legalize the minor and attend the immigration interview with the minor.
- Celebrate the legal start in the United States. Welcome to the United States!
(One way the guardian may also celebrate the minor’s legality, is the guardian may now claim the minor on the guardian’s taxes, likely resulting in saving thousands of dollars. Welcome to the United States!)
The Notice U.S. Immigration Sends the Minor
with Approval of Special Immigrant Juvenile: