Original Date AnnouncedAugust 16, 2017
In a memo obtained through litigation in Saravia v. Sessions (3:17-cv-03615-VC ( N.D. Cal. )) from the Office of Refugee Resettlement to the Domestic Policy Council, ORR announces a Community Safety Initiative intended to prevent gang members from entering the country as Unaccompanied Alien Minors. As part of the initiative, ORR is instituting a comprehensive review of program policies and procedures. At the time of announcement, the initiative had already led to several policy changes, including notifying local law enforcement of release from secure detention facilities and adding gang prevention services to detention.
[ID#19]ORR Information Memo: Community Safety Initiative for the Unaccompanied Alien Children Program
Effective DateAugust 16, 2017
Subsequent Trump-Era and Court Action(s)
September 17, 2020
2017.06.22 Saravia v. Sessions
A settlement agreement was reached in Saravia v. Barr, 3:17-cv-03615 (N.D. Cal. January 14, 2021), a class action on behalf of minors taken into custody based partly on allegations of gang affiliation.View Document
Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.
Biden Administration Action: ModifiedMarch 18, 2021
USCIS Policy Alert_SIJ Classification and Saravia v. Barr
This Biden administration policy modifies the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.
On March 18, 2021, pursuant to the settlement agreement in Saravia v. Barr, USCIS updated its policy manual to incorporate changes. Specifically:
- USCIS will not refuse its consent to a request for SIJ classification based in whole or in part on the fact that the state court did not consider or sufficiently consider evidence of the petitioner’s gang affiliation when deciding whether to issue a predicate order or in making its determination that it was not in the best interest of the child to return to his or her home country.
- USCIS will not use its consent authority to reweigh the evidence that the juvenile court considered when it issued the predicate order.
- USCIS will not revoke a petition for SIJ classification based in whole or in part on the fact that the state court’s best interest determination was not made with consideration of the petitioner’s gang affiliation.
Current StatusPartially in effectMarch 18, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration
Original Trump Policy StatusStatus: Final/Actual In LitigationTrump Administration Action: Agency DirectiveAgencies Affected: ORR ICE DOJ State & Local Entities
Pre Trump-Era Policies
May 11, 2016
The prior administration's initiatives were limited to partnering with Central American governments to combat gang violence, strengthen citizen security, spur economic development and support the reintegration and repatriation of returned citizens.2016.05.11 CRS Report: Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview
Trump-Era Policy Documents
CRS Report: Unaccompanied Alien Children: An Overview
Clearinghouse: Saravia v. Sessions