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Immigration Law

CISOMB Recommends Improvements to SIJ Adjudications

USCIS, Dec. 11, 2015 - Ombudsman Recommendations to Ensuring Process Efficiency and Legal Sufficiency in Special Immigrant Juvenile Adjudications

Stakeholders report and the Ombudsman has observed that the Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) visa program continues to suffer from inconsistent adjudication and overreaching requests for evidence that burden petitioners and service providers.  USCIS has announced its intention to centralize the adjudication of these petitions, and improvements to processing will promote greater consistency and create a more predictable and equitable program.

Recommendation

  1. Centralize SIJ adjudications in a facility whose personnel are familiar with the sensitivities surrounding the adjudication of humanitarian benefits for vulnerable populations;

  2. Take into account the best interests of the child when applying criteria for interview waivers;

  3. Issue final SIJ regulations that fully incorporate all statutory amendments; and

  4. Interpret the consent function consistently with the statute by according greater deference to State court findings.