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Deferred Action Dreamer in New York Times Article Eligible For Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

Since the announcement of Deferred Action for Certain Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was announced in June of 2012, we have been exceptionally vocal in urging eligible individuals to consult with an immigration attorney to determine if they are eligible for a better form of relief.

The biggest and most overlapping form of relief for DACA individuals is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which is better than DACA because it enables the recipient to apply for permanent residency, or a “Green card.”

Unfortunately, national leaders screwed up big time and have not advised young people eligible for DACA to ascertain first whether they are eligible for alternative forms of relief. They have even went as far as saying that those applying for DACA need not consult with an attorney at all. 

The visibility of the consequences of this leadership failure reached a high in a New York Times article published on October 3, 2012, titled: “Undocumented Life Is a Hurdle as Immigrants Seek a Reprieve.”

In this article, a young immigrant woman is interviewed to demonstrate the difficulty of obtaining sufficient proof to obtain DACA: 

Yaida, 17, said that she was short just one document — a Mexican passport, to prove her identity — and that the quest for it had reopened family wounds.

Her father abandoned the family when Yaida was young. Her mother has been seeking to gain full custody over the children, but the process has been slow because Yaida’s father, who lives in Mexico, is not cooperating.

Unless her mother secures full custody, Mexican law requires that Yaida also receive her father’s authorization to obtain the passport. In the meantime, she waits.

“I have all the school papers, I have the doctors’ documents, I have church documents for confirmation,” she said, her voice trailing off. “I have everything except a passport.”

From the facts cited, Yaida appears to be eligible for special immigrant juvenile status because she was abandoned by at least one of her parents and is under the age of 21. A Mexican passport is not required for a U.S. family court to grant guardianship of Yaida to a close relative or friend, which would enable her to petition DHS to be classified as a Special Immigrant Juvenile and thereafter apply for adjustment of status.

Yaida’s example should serve as a “tip of the iceberg” tale for all of those irresponsible national leaders on DACA. Tens of thousands of young immigrants are applying or will apply for DACA even though they are eligible for SIJS and should apply for that instead.

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