In the News: Recent reports indicate that the current administration has been rejecting lawful residence status applications; a startling number of immigrant youth are receiving denials. Many of the immigrant youth denied entry left their countries to escape abusive situations. Why are the status applications being denied? The U.S. government denied the applications based on the belief that the immigrants requesting lawful residence status or asylum were too old.
According to U.S. immigration law, young immigrants who are escaping from abuse, abandonment, or neglect by a parent are lawfully eligible to seek a court-appointed guardian and a green card to say in the United States. This stipulation of the U.S. immigration program has been in effect since 1990. The program clearly states that applicants are required to file paperwork before reaching the age of 21. The Trump administration insists that applicants 18+ are too old to qualify for lawful residence status under this provision. During the past year, the government has sent out denial notices to applicants in California, New York, Texas, and New Jersey based on this age-based argument.
Advocates for immigrant rights have filed lawsuits in response to the action in both New York and California, arguing that this type of policy implementation would have a significant impact on disenfranchised immigrant youth. Federal data indicates that the number of youth applying for immigration through the program tripled from 2014-2017. Application denials also increased with over 2,000 applications denied in the past two years alone.
Plaintiffs’ legal counsel suggested that the USCIS does not have the authority to defy state law in this matter. Actions at the federal level directly contradict New York’s policy of allowing courts to issue guardianship orders to young immigrants. Immigration defense attorneys on the case indicated that the arbitrary change in policy implementation occurred because the procedure of the state didn’t comply with federal statute (i.e., the provision that allows immigrants up to age 21 to apply for the program).
If you have questions about a denied immigration application or if you need help figuring out how the latest in U.S. immigration policy applies to your case, please get in touch with one of the experienced U.S. immigration attorneys at Aronow Law PC.