A Helping Hand For Unaccompanied Minors In The U.S.

Being in a foreign country is intimidating for anyone. Undocumented children who are in the U.S. unaccompanied by an adult are in an especially frightened situation. They are unable to advocate for themselves and require the help of a compassionate attorney to protect their rights.

Our immigration lawyers at Hernandez & Associates, P.C., care deeply about helping unaccompanied foreign minors and their families. We work with parents and minors under the age of 18 to explore their options regarding immigration status. Most importantly, we do everything in our power to ensure these children’ safety.

What Relief Options Are Available For Unaccompanied Minors?

Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) leave their country of origin for multiple reasons such as:

  • Rejoin family members already in the U.S.
  • Escape abusive family relationships.
  • Escape gangs and violence.

On March 1, 2003, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Section 462, transferred function under U.S. immigration laws regarding the care and placement of UAC from the Commissioner of the INS to the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

UAC – Unaccompanied Alien Children. After the arrival in the U.S., the child is identified and undergoes initial health screening and immigration processing to initiate removal proceedings. The child may be transferred to a short-term, multi-agency center where HHS provides a medical check, immunizations and shelter assignment. The child is then transferred to an HHS shelter assignment. The child remains in the HHS shelter until a sponsor is identified on a case-by-case basis. The child is placed with a relative or other sponsor in the U.S., pending the outcome of the immigration process.

SIJS – Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The purpose of the program is to help foreign children in the U.S. who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. You may qualify for SIJS if:
– You are under 21 years old on the filing date.
– You have a state court order that declares that you are a dependent of the court that is in effect on the filing date.
– You are not married.
– You must be in the U.S. at the time of filing.

CAM – Central American Minors Program. The Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program provides certain qualified children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States.

Who Qualifies For Children?

The Central American Minors (CAM) program functions to assist juveniles under the age of 18 who arrive in the U.S. from certain Latin American countries without an adult. The qualifying child in El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras must be:

  • The child (e.g., biological, step or legally adopted) of the qualifying parent
  • Unmarried
  • Under the age of 21
  • A national of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras
  • Residing in his or her country of nationality

Through CAM, minors and their parents or legal guardians who meet these criteria may qualify for refugee status. This could possibly lead to permanent residency in the United States.

How Parents Qualify For The Program

The qualifying parent may be any individual who is at least 18 years old and lawfully present in the United States in one of the following categories:

  • Permanent resident status
  • Temporary protected status
  • Parolee
  • Deferred action
  • Deferred enforced departure
  • Withholding of removal

The CAM program is an excellent option for certain minors and their parents; however, the process of gaining permanent residency in the U.S. through CAM is not easy. It is a long and complex process fraught with paperwork, delays and setbacks. It takes the strong advocacy and help of an attorney like ours to stand up for you and your child’s rights.

Seek Help From A Team That Can Help

Contact the attorneys at Hernandez & Associates, P.C., for help with your immigration issues. Our Colorado lawyers work on relief for unaccompanied minors. We have been assisting immigrants since 2007. Call our Denver office at , or email us online to reach us.

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