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29 Pace L. Rev. 511 (2008-2009)
Keeping Promises to Immigrant Youth

handle is hein.journals/pace29 and id is 517 raw text is: 



    Keeping Promises to Immigrant Youth


                     Theo S. Liebmann*


    As New York's immigrant population of nearly four million
continues to grow, so too does the number of immigrant youth.'
Yet, until recently, there has been remarkably little consistency
on the role of the courts and government agencies in addressing
the needs of immigrant youth. In particular, questions have
lingered on the role of the state in implementing a remarkably
compassionate section of the federal Immigration and National-
ity Act that provides a pathway for abused, neglected, or aban-
doned children under twenty-one to obtain legal status.2 This
pathway, called Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status,3 al-
lows immigrant youth to petition for status as a permanent le-
gal resident-commonly known as a green card-so long as
they meet certain criteria.4 SIJ status has understandably been
embraced by many immigration and family lawyers around the
country as the best hope to normalize the lives of youths con-
fronting the dual daunting challenges of abusive homes and
harsh governmental treatment of illegal immigrants.5

   * Professor of Clinical Law and Director of Clinical Programs, Hofstra Univer-
sity School of Law, and Attorney-in-Charge, Hofstra Child Advocacy Clinic. B.A.,
1990, Yale University; J.D., 1995, Georgetown University Law Center.
    1. See Pew Hispanic Center, Foreign Born at Mid-Decade, Table 11, Change
in Foreign Population by State: 2000 and 2005 (Oct. 2006), http://pewhispanic.org/
files/other/foreignbornfrable-11.pdf.
   2. See § 101, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J) (2006); USCIS Special Immigrant Juve-
nile Rule, 8 C.F.R. § 204.11 (2009) (interpreting and implementing
§ 1101(a)(27)(J)).
   3. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(27)(J)(iii); 8 C.F.R. § 204.11.
   4. See 8 C.F.R. § 204.11(a)-(c).
   5. See, e.g., Michelle Abarca et al., No Abused, Abandoned, or Neglected Child
Left Behind: Overcoming Barriers Facing Special Immigrant Juveniles, in IMMI-
GRATION & NATIONALITY LAW HANDBOOK 520 (Gregory P. Adams et al. eds., 2007-
2008); Anne Chandler, et al., The ABCs of Working With Immigrant Children to
Obtain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for Those Abused, Neglected, or Aban-
doned, in IMMIGRATION & NATIONALITY LAW HANDBOOK 308 (Gregory P. Adams et
al. eds., 2006-2007).

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