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USCIS begins denying SIJ status to 18-20 year olds

  1. Date Announced

    March 1, 2018

    As reported in pending litigation, USCIS in the spring of 2018 began denying Special Immigrant Juvenile status to 18-20 year olds, stating that applicants had not met their burden of "providing an order from a juvenile court making a custody and care determination for a juvenile." This policy is being challenged in several courts.

    [ID #32]

    View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    March 1, 2018
  3. Subsequent Action

    March 15, 2019

    On March 15, 2019, a federal judge in R.F. M. v. Nielsen (S.D.N.Y., Case No. 1:18-cv-05068) overturned USCIS's interpretation. Other cases pending in N.D. Cal.-- J.L. v. Cissna (preliminary injunction granted 10/24/18); W.D. Wash.-- Moreno-Galvez; W.D. Tex.--Ochoa-Castilo.

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

    R.F.M. v. Nielsen Order
  4. Subsequent Action

    October 5, 2020

    On Oct. 5, 2020, Western District of Washington issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the government from denying youth who otherwise qualify just because they were already 18-20 years old when the state court order was entered. It also requires the government to comply with the 180 day timeline for adjudicating the applications, and denies the government's attempt to toll or delay the deadline by issuing RFEs or asserting the application was incomplete.

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

    Galvez v. Cuccinelli, Case No. C19-0321RSL (W.D. Wash. Oct. 5, 2020)
Type of Action: Change in Practice
Agencies Affected: USCIS State & Local Entities

Prior Policies

Subsequent Actions

  1. Associated or Derivative Policies

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