child waving american flag

Interpreting Changes to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

In an effort to limit all forms of immigration, the Trump administration has determined Special Immigrant Juvenile Status will not be granted to applicants who apply when they are over the age of eighteen but have yet to turn twenty one.

Over the last ten years, applicants under the age of twenty one demonstrating they experienced abuse, neglect or abandonment, would qualify for a green card.

However, the Trump administration’s decision to reduce all immigration overall means young people who are often in horrible situations at home are subjected to being sent back without much legal recourse, often to a life without a home or family, and often further subjected to harm, such as in the case of a young woman threatened with rape from Honduras for being a lesbian. Previously, her case would be determined quickly, with the threat of violence against her as evidence she would be safer in the United States.

The government, unfortunately, is cherry picking based on worth, determining who is and isn’t a child based on whim rather than on fact. This is detrimental to the lives of thousands.

By changing this rule abruptly means many children who were gathering evidence for their case, working to make sure their applications were filed correctly, or are even waiting for a trial date, have now waited in vain to potentially be sent back to their country of origin to face extreme poverty, violence, and death.

This further burdens both family and immigration courts now under further pressure to push through more cases with less time. This, coupled with a lack of legal counsel, results in further marginalization for those who have neither the money nor experience to handle their own cases.

There are solutions to the issues created and presented above. However, the unfortunate fact is this administration lacks empathy for people who don’t look like them. Many of these kids are of color, poor, and in need of protection, and this administration is simply not equipped to understand the lives of others in a meaningful way.

These are kids who need help. Bringing back cases on the grounds of “fraud” when they have either made a mistake on their forms, or denying them access to green cards when their siblings have been allowed entry is ludicrous. The changes needed to make this system work, unfortunately, are simply changes this administration won’t make.

Ask Henry Lim
Do you have a question for Henry Lim? During over 20 years of practicing law, he has helped more than 10,000 families move to the United States. You can Ask Henry a question at or submit a video question by sending a link to one of our channels. For legal assistance, email or call for an appointment: (407) 512-9919. Our first consultation is complimentary.