For many of us, these three words don’t hold much meaning. But for several of KIAC’s clients, Special Immigrant Juvenile status is the difference between remaining safely in the United States and being sent back into situations of abuse and neglect.
Larry, KIAC’s Director of Legal Services, is working with one such client. At a very young age, Santos* was abandoned by his parents to be raised by his grandparents. Santos remembers being hungry, dirty and neglected for much of his childhood. Upon their return, Santos’ parents showed no interest in his well-being. They were verbally abusive and continued to neglect his basic needs.
Despite neglect and abuse, Santos persevered, obtaining a part-time job and saving up enough money to leave his country of origin. At just 17 years old and all alone, Santos made the difficult journey to the United States. Upon entry, Santos was picked up by ICE and released into the care of his brother. They called KIAC for immigration legal representation and support.
Santos is currently in removal proceedings. Larry helped him apply for asylum and is working on obtaining a predicate order, a necessary prerequisite for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). SIJS is a pathway to legal status for minor immigrants currently living in the United States who have been impacted by abandonment, abuse or neglect. If awarded SIJS, Santos will be appointed by the court to be a dependent of his brother until he turns 21. If SIJS is granted, Santos will be able to apply for Lawful Permanent Residency.
When you make a gift to KIAC, you allow KIAC to help immigrants like Santos. We can’t do what we do for our immigrant neighbors without support from donors like you.
Please consider a gift to KIAC today and make an impact in 2022. *Name changed for confidentiality & privacy purposes