A judge said these kids get a green card. ICE says they get deported
July 06, 2017 · 2:45 PM EDT
By Bernice Yeung
For the first time, US immigration officials are seeking to deport children who have received a special status for vulnerable migrants and are in the final stages of getting their green cards.
State judges and immigration authorities can jointly grant children a special humanitarian designation known as Special Immigrant Juvenile Status if they decide undocumented children have been abandoned, abused or neglected by one of their parents in their home country. Children who qualify are given a US Social Security number, a work permit and a green card.
Now, a group of children from Central America who are close to becoming legal permanent residents face imminent deportation after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement declined to close their deportation cases in February.
Children in the same scenario have previously completed the process without facing similar threats of deportation.
“The immigration administration is saying they don’t care — that the risks that lie beyond the border are not their problem,” said Leon Rodriguez, who oversaw the granting of the humanitarian status as director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services until early 2017.
V.G. is one of the first children with the status to be placed in deportation proceedings while he waits for his green card.
He had become desperate to evade the aggressive recruitment of gangs in his rural hometown in El Salvador, and in the fall of 2015, when he was 14, he and his mother decided to seek refuge in the United States. They crossed into the US by swimming across the Rio Grande. Hours later, they were arrested by US immigration authorities and readied for deportation.
Before they could be sent back, V.G. made the case to a family court judge in Pennsylvania that he deserved a special humanitarian designation for migrant kids because he’d been abandoned by his father in El Salvador, and gangs in his home country have been known to prey on vulnerable teens.
When Congress created the status in 1990, it called on family courts to decide whether the children qualify for humanitarian protection. The migrant then submits an application, which is approved or denied by DHS.
Because the court found that he had been abandoned and it was not in his best interest to be returned home, V.G. was granted Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. He is referred to only by his initials in court documents because he is considered a vulnerable minor.
V.G. and three other children in his situation are challenging their impending deportation. In a federal court in Southern California, they are trying to force the government to reopen their deportation cases. They will make their case to a judge on July 10.
They have also filed a class-action lawsuit in Pennsylvania, where they are being detained with their mothers, that argues that in trying to deport the children, the U.S. government is violating the US Constitution and federal immigration laws. A panel of judges could make a decision as early as this summer.
Bridget Cambria, a Pennsylvania attorney who represents V.G. and the three other children who are in a similar situation, said these cases could have far-reaching impact on whether more children with the status will be deported.
These are not criminals. That’s how the immigration ‘crackdown’ was sold – they were going to go after all those CRIMINALS.
These are the most vulnerable.
And, you have ICE, acting like phucking vultures. This seems to be a pattern with them – going after the vulnerable. Women. Children. Seniors.
They’re supposed to be all big and bad…when the phuck are they going to go after the CRIMINALS…oh, that’s right, the Criminals would fight back against their fraudulent behinds.