Not a Lexis+ subscriber? Try it out for free.

Immigration Law

SIJ Retrogression

An email message dated Feb. 17, 2022 from The Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN):

"PLEASE READ for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Cases - Visa Bulletin Retrogression

Good morning Pro Bono Attorneys,

The March 2022 Visa Bulletin is now available. Unfortunately, priority dates for Special Immigrant Juveniles from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras will retrogress significantly - nearly two years back - in March 2022. We expect that priority dates for Special Immigrant Juveniles from Mexico may also retrogress significantly as soon as April 2022, and a worldwide retrogression may follow soon after.

Attorneys representing children with approved applications for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) (Form I-360) should review their clients' priority dates immediately and take urgent action to apply for adjustment of status for eligible clients.

The Visa Bulletin is a chart that the U.S. Department of State publishes every month listing visa availability for different visa categories. Visas for Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJS) come from the employment-based fourth preference category (EB-4). When the EB-4 category shows that your client's priority date (listed on their I-360 approval notice) is "current," your client can move forward with an application to adjust their status to lawful permanent resident. Your client's priority date is "current" when the priority date is on or before the date listed in the EB-4 category for your client's country of origin. You can confirm whether to refer to the "Final Action Dates for Employment-Based Preference Cases" chart OR the "Dates for Filing of Employment-Based Visa Applications" chart to find current priority dates here. You can also learn more about visa availability for Special Immigrant Juveniles and adjustment of status here.

If your client from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras has an approved Form I-360, application for SIJS, and your client's priority date is current, it is important that you act immediately to apply for adjustment of status for your client, in February 2022, before priority dates retrogress in March.

If your client from Mexico's I-360 priority date is current, you should also act quickly to apply for adjustment of status for your client before priority dates retrogress.

In addition, if your client has a Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, pending based on approved SIJS, and has received a Request for Evidence (RFE), you should file your response to the RFE immediately and include language in your cover letter encouraging USCIS to adjudicate the case before the retrogression.

The relevant priority dates from the February 2022 Visa Bulletin are:

Filing Dates Chart for SIJS applicants from Mexico: Current
Filing Dates Chart for SIJS applicants from ES, HON, GT: 05/15/2019

The relevant priority dates from the March 2022 Visa Bulletin are:

Filing Dates Chart for SIJS applicants from Mexico: Current
Filing Dates Chart for SIJS applicants from ES, HON, GT: 06/15/2017

For both February and March 2022, USCIS has indicated that applicants should use the Filing Dates chart for Special Immigrant Juveniles."