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  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

  DFCS Online Policies & Procedures

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Handbook 13: Cross Program Protocols
13-20.2  Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
Cross Program Protocols
13-20.2  Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
Reference Points
Overview
Who Is Eligible for Special Immigration Status
Timeliness of Application
Preparation for Referring a Child for SIJS
Tracking the SIJS Application in CWS/CMS
SIJS referral Procedures
Financial Assistance
Documenting in CWS/CMS
Contacts
Other References


Reference Points
Effective Date: 07/01/06
Last Updated: 9/15/2014
 Legal Basis:
Popup Window Special Immigration Juvenile Status
Popup Window United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
PDF U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Memorandum:  Field Guidance on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Petitions
PDF Public Law 110-457: William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Re-authorization Act of 2008
 Non CWS/CMS Forms:
MS Word Order Regarding Minor's Eligibility for Special Immigration Juvenile Status
MS Word Notice of Ex Parte Application (SCZ 170)
MS Word Attachment to Notice (SCZ170a)
PDF USCIS form -Biographic Information (G-325)
MS Word USCIS Form - Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485), page 3.
MS Word DFCS Special Funds Request/ Miscellaneous /Other Purchases (SCZ414Z)
MS Word DFCS Special Funds Request / Immigration Expenses (SCZ 414Z)
 CWS/CMS Forms:
bullet

Court Management Section: Ex Parte Application and Order

  MS Word Sample: Petitioning for Minor's Eligibility for SIJS



Overview  

Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) is one of many forms of immigration relief. Changes in the Immigration Act of 1990 made children who are dependents of the juvenile court who have been adjudicated into a permanency planning modality eligible to legalize their immigrant status.  Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) is one of many forms of immigration relief.  In 2008, Public Law 110-457, expanded eligibility for SIJS. Children who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents and who cannnot be reunited with "one or both" parents under DFCS supervision are eligible to legalize their immigrant status. Procedures which give a child Special Immigrant Juvenile Status are dependent both on foster care status and the timely filing of the application. Workers should promptly bring any such situation to the attention of the assigned Child Dependency Unit (CDU) County Counsel. Because discharge from foster care can impact a Special Immigrant Juvenile Status application, workers should consult with County Counsel and Immigration attorneys prior to the child's discharge from foster care to "independent living or dismissal of the case.

Social workers working with families with immigration problems should refer those families to knowledgeable agencies for an assessment of their immigration status and/or options.  Catholic Charities Immigration Counseling Center is the designated principal agency to refer clients of the Department of Family and Children's Services (DFCS) to resolve immigration problems.  However, in some instances, other private attorneys or agencies may also be used to process cases.

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Who is Eligible for Special Immigration Juvenile Status  

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a grant of lawful permanent resident status.  Children who are eligible for Special Immigration Juvenile Status include those who come under all of the following four requirements:

  • Have undocumented legal status.
  • Be a dependent of the juvenile Court. NMDs under AB12 continue to be eligible for SIJS application completed before their 21st birthday.
  • NMDs must be unmarried.
  • Unable to reunify with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
  • The Court has declared that it is not in their best interest to be returned to their country of origin.

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status can be granted for unmarried youth up to age 21, as long as they remain dependents of the court, whether they are in paid or non-paid placement as long as the social worker files an application for SIJS on behalf of the dependent youth prior to the age of 21. 

 

Children, who are deemed dual status, should still be assessed for SIJS.  The worker would follow all of the same steps with two exceptions.  Catholic Charities may decline to petition on behalf of the youth.  The worker must request a denial letter from Catholic Charities and attach it to a new 414Z to access services from other community legal agencies.


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Timeliness of Application  

Current regulations require that an applicant for SIJS adjustment must be less than 21 years old. As long as SIJS is filed before the age of 21, the dependent youth will remain eligible under SJIS.  This is of particular importance to NMD youth. It may take 6 to 8 months,after the application is submitted, for an interview to be scheduled.  The dependent youth must remain under Juvenile Court jurisdiction for the entire time the immigration application is pending.  However, as of 2010, under the Perez-Olano settlement agreement, if the child is no longer under juvenile court jurisdiction because of age, then USCIS cannot deny SIJS for this reason.

 

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Preparation for Referring a Client for SIJS  

In preparation for referring a child or family to the Immigration Counseling Center of Catholic Charities or an immigration attorney, the social worker:

  • Inquires about birth certificates; if unavailable, obtains birth certificates from Consulate representing the child/NMD's country of origin.
  • Identifies any immigration documents the minor or family possesses.
  • Answers the following questions:
    • Who in the family is a U.S. citizen, legal resident or other known immigrant status?
    • What types of immigration documents does the family possess?
    • Do family members have passports?  From what country?
    • What family member needs help with an immigration problem?

 

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Tracking the SIJS Application in CWS/CMS  

In the CWS/CMS Client Management Section (blue button) under the Demographics tab, social workers are able to:

  • Document the following Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) efforts with corresponding dates made on behalf of a child client to establish lawful permanent residency status:
    • Birth certificate
    • Court order
    • Apostille of the Court Order
    • Fingerprinting
    • Immigration Physical
    • Medical Exam
    • Passport Photo
    • SIJS Application Form Completed 

  • Track the following SIJS application statuses and the related dates:
    • Filed Application
    • Received Interview Date
    • Interview Completed
    • Application Approved
    • Application Denied
    • Received Legal Residency Card  

  • Enter the date scheduled for the SIJS Interview. 

Click here for a screen shot of the CWS/CMS Demographics page.

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SIJS Referral Procedures  

If a child is eligible for SIJS, the social worker:

  • Contacts the Immigration Counseling Office at Catholic Charities or the immigration counselor of record to advise that office that the worker will be assisting the child in applying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
    • The immigration counselor from Catholic Charities:
      • Sends USCIS biometrics forms for completion by the social worker and child or the social worker can print out the forms (See non-CWS/CMS Forms in Reference Points Section at the top of this OPP chapter).
      • Advises the worker of the current USCIS fees for processing each form that will be needed.
          • USCIS fees can be waived but the request must be made by the immigration legal services applying on behalf of the child.

  • Prepares an an Application and Order which includes the following information:
      • Children who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents and who cannot be reunified with “one or both” parents under DFCS supervision are eligible to legalize their immigrant status. 
      •  The immigration status of the parents.
      • The evidence of abuse, neglect or abandonment of the child.
      • The reason why it would not be in the best interest of the juvenile to be returned to his/her parents' country of nationality or last habitual residence.
      • The recommendation that the order regarding the child's eligibility for special immigration status be signed as attached.

             

  •  Attaches to the Application and Order the:
    • Order Regarding Minor's Eligibility for Special Immigrant Status
    • Declaration re: Notice of Ex Parte Application (SCZ170)
    • Attachment to Notice (SCZ 170a)
     
  • Submits the above documents to the Court.
  • Completes with the child:
    • USCIS form - Biographic Information (G-325)
    • USCIS Form - Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485), page 3.
  • Gathers the following information, after the Special Petition Order is signed by the Court:
    • Signed Court Order
    • Child's original birth certificate
    • Original passport, if available
    • USCIS form - Biographic Information (G-325)
    • USCIS Form - Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (I-485), page 3.
    • Checks for filing and processing fees.
  • Makes an appointment with Immigration Counseling Center or counselor of record to meet with worker and child.
    • Allow 3 hours for the meeting to complete the necessary paperwork.



The immigration counselor of record:

  • Reviews the packet of forms.
  • Takes the child's picture as part of the application.
  • Requests appointments for fingerprinting for the child, if the child is 14 years or older.
    • Fingerprinting must be done at a government center. 
  • Requests an appointment for interview with the USCIS.
    • The interview is generally scheduled within 6-8 months.


The social worker:

  • Accompanies the child to fingerprinting center when notified of the appointment.
    • the child must have a picture ID or passporty from his or her country of origin.  A school ID does not suffice.



The social worker and immigration counselor:

  • Accompany the child to the interview with USCIS.
    • The worker must take:
      • A current court order and/or court document verifying that child continues as a dependent of the juvenile court
      • The jurisdiction/disposition court report
      • The most recent court report
        • All three above documents must have an embossed seal from the Court Clerk's Office.
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Financial Assistance  

DFCS assists the child in paying for the application costs through the DFCS Special Funds.  The immigration counselor at Catholic Charities can give information as to the current fees.  Costs will include:

  • Filing fees (to process the packet an USCIS representation)
  • Fee for the Adjustment of Status (I-485)
  • Fee for the Special Immigrant Petition (I-360)
  • Work Authorization/Identity Card (I-765)
  • Fingerprints (for child 14 years and older)
  • Immigration physicals not covered by Medi-Cal
  • Catholic Charities processing fees

 

Note: There are two ways to access funding for immigration physicals:

One requests an invoice from the medical provider performing the immigration physical.  There is a separate invoice for a chest x-ray if needed.  However, this is unknown at the time the funding is requested. As such, two checks are requested to cover the x-ray if needed so that the worker and youth do not have to return. If there is no need for an  x-ray, then the check is returned to Special Funds;

Or

One can request to be preapproved for to cover the full expense of the immigration physical and x-ray, then pay out of pocket of either the worker or the caregiver, and then provide receipts to the Special Funds Unit in order to be reimbursed.


To process the payment, the social worker:

  • Submits DFCS Special Funds Request / Immigration Expenses (SCZ414Z), which will cover all applicable processing fees for both Catholic Charities and U.S.C.I.S.
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Documenting in CWS/CMS  

Under the Client Management Section (blue button) in the Child Welfare System/Case Management System (CWS/CMS) under the Demographics tab, there are several fields applicable to the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status application.  Click here for a screen shot showing the applicable CWS/CMS fields.  Social workers should complete all fields in the Origin box.  As the application process proceeds, social workers add to the Packet Item and Application Status fields under the SIJS Application Box.

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Contacts  

Immigration Resources-DFCS Staff - list of internal DFCS staff.

 

Community & Government Resources - Immigration

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Other References  
bullet

OPP Chapter 8-6: Ex Parte Application and Order

bullet OPP Chapter 13-20: Immigration Issues in the Child Welfare System
Popup Window Designated Civil Surgeons and Medical Facilities Locator
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