SIJ Victory in New York: Matter of Marcelina M.-G.

SIJ Victory in New York: Matter of Marcelina M.-G.

"In 1990, Congress enacted the special immigrant juvenile provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (see 8 USC § 1101[a][27][J]; Pub L 101-649, § 153, 104 US Stat 4978 [101st Cong, 2d Sess, Nov 29, 1990]), which provide a gateway for undocumented children who have been abused, neglected, or abandoned to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States. Prior to petitioning the relevant federal agency for special immigrant juvenile status, an immigrant juvenile must obtain an order from a state juvenile court making findings that the juvenile satisfies certain criteria. Among those findings is a determination that reunification with “1 or both” of the juvenile’s parents “is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis found under State law” (8 USC § 1101[a][27][J][i]). The principal issue presented on this appeal is whether a juvenile may satisfy this statutory reunification requirement when the juvenile court determines that reunification is not viable with just 1, as opposed to both, of the juvenile’s parents. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that the “1 or both” language requires only a finding that reunification is not viable with 1 parent." - Matter of Marcelina M.-G., Oct. 23, 2013.  [Hats off to pro bono counsel Kevin F. Broughel!]