Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Protection in Maryland

Across states, many of the regulations that guide Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) are the same, but some parts of the law are up to states to determine. As a result, the way to navigate a SIJS case is going to be different in every state. It is key to understand the eligibility requirements of Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in Maryland, as outlined by the legislature and refined by case law, to get a sense of the kinds of cases that are heard.

Age Requirement

In many states, eligible persons must be under the age of 18, be unmarried and must be placed by the juvenile court into the protection and care of an agency or individual, including itself. This was the case in Maryland until recently, when the age requirement was disputed and successfully changed in the state legislature. Local groups spoke up to raise the age cap to 21 to help ease the transition out of childhood to give more opportunity to develop English skills and allow for ample time to prepare for adulthood somewhere less familiar.

Using Maryland Legal Definitions

Through a series of cases, Maryland has an established precedent that the state definitions shall be used in instances of unclear language, regardless of the country from which the person comes. Examples of debated phrases taken from the law include “best interest of the child” and what constitutes abuse, abandonment, and neglect. In a recent case, it was determined that, even though a client would not have access to a public education in his home country, he still must be held to Maryland education standards. Thus, if a child is not going to school, immigrant parents can be found guilty for neglect since attending school is required for children under the age of 17 in Maryland. These definitions will presumably always apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status in Maryland unless the federal law is more specific.

Navigate Special Immigrants Juvenile Status in Maryland with an Attorney

Filing for SIJS is a complicated process that requires accurate documentation and extensive knowledge. To file alone, you will need a petition submitted to the United States government, a qualifying cause of action to be heard in state court, and a predicate request filed alongside the cause of action. At the Law Office of Elizabeth A. Lawrence, we can help you with your cause of action so that it falls into one of the categories often tried in Maryland. Our experts breathe immigration law, and are aware of the legal climate in Maryland on the subject. Let us guide you through the complex layers of family and immigration law to seek out justice for Maryland’s young immigrant population.

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    Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence, LLC.
  • Address: 90 Painters Mill Road Suite 201 Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
  • Phone: (443) 352-3201

  • Email: info@elawrencelaw.com

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