top of page

Special Immigrant Juvenile Proceedings

Unaccompanied Minors. Special Immigrant Juvenile Proceedings

The flood of unaccompanied minors or single-parent families seeking refuge at America's southern border in the summer of 2014 highlighted one of the least known, but now controversial areas of American immigration law, that of "unaccompanied minors" and "special immigrant juveniles.”


What to do with this new flood of, to quote the famous poem by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty, "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe the free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”?

Nowadays "the golden door" in the poem is likely to be closed to such minors unless they have the help of a skilled immigration advocate to pry it open. Brian O'Neill and his team have proved many times that they can be entrusted with this difficult challenge.


"Unaccompanied minors" are youngsters under eighteen who appear at our borders seeking refuge. Paradoxically, they may be accompanied by a single parent or adult but still be considered "unaccompanied." Such minors have some special procedural rights in asylum proceedings. While they will be put into immigration court, their claims can be heard outside of it before the benefits bureaucracy of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), USCIS, and they are not subject to the "one year deadline" for filing asylum claims. However, finding the proper asylum theory remains a major challenge. 


Another path such minors can take if the facts show it is that of "special immigrant juvenile proceedings." These also are complex and difficult. The minor must have a sponsoring adult, who can be a single parent, and must first go into state family court to prove that the minor was the victim of parental "abandonment, neglect or abuse" by at least one parent. Once a proper order has been obtained in state court the minor must then file a "special immigrant juvenile" petition and "adjustment of status" (green card) application while "managing" removal proceedings in immigration court.

Brian O'Neill and his team have handled dozens of unaccompanied minor and special immigrant juvenile cases successfully. If you are young person, or the parent of one, seeking to remain in the United States you owe it to yourself to consult with him to see if "the golden door" can be opened for you.

Do not hesitate in contacting the law firm of Brian D. O'Neill to a plan for success in family immigration matters.
Tel.: 201-803-2126
bottom of page