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ORR announces Community Safety Initiative to review unaccompanied minor policies

  1. Date Announced

    Aug. 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.


    See Biden administration action below.

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    Aug. 16, 2017
  3. Subsequent Action

    September 17, 2020

    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.

    Litigation is listed for informational purposes and is not comprehensive. For the current status of legal challenges, check other sources.

    2017.06.22 Saravia v. Sessions
  4. Biden Administration Action

    March 18, 2021

    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.

    USCIS Policy Alert_SIJ Classification and Saravia v. Barr
Type of Action: Agency Directive
Subject Matter: Minors Interior
Agencies Affected: ORR ICE DOJ State & Local Entities

Prior Policies

Subsequent Action

Biden Administration Action

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