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Pace Law Review

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As New York's immigrant population of nearly four million continues to grow, so too does the number of immigrant youth. Yet, until recently, there has been remarkably little consistency on the role of the courts and government agencies in addressing the needs of immigrant youth. In particular, questions have lingered on the role of the state in implementing a remarkably compassionate section of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act that provides a pathway for abused, neglected, or abandoned children under twenty-one to obtain legal status. This pathway, called Special Immigrant Juvenile ("SIJ") status, allows immigrant youth to petition for status as a permanent legal resident-commonly known as a "green card"-so long as they meet certain criteria. SIJ status has understandably been embraced by many immigration and family lawyers around the country as the best hope to normalize the lives of youths confronting the dual daunting challenges of abusive homes and harsh governmental treatment of illegal immigrants.



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