Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Monday that several young immigrants who were deemed to have been abused or neglected by their parents could not be denied special immigration juvenile status by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) department of citizenship and immigration services.
The ruling granted the plaintiffs the ability to proceed as a class and to proceed with their litigation anonymously. The case stemmed from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) interpretation of rules, which previously let children under the age of 18 who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both parents obtain a green card. Previously, all they had to do was submit to USCIS the judge’s order from juvenile court, which determined that they have been abused, abandoned or neglected.
Under the new interpretation the USCIS said the applicants who were now over the age of 18 no longer qualified because the state courts authority ends at the age of 18. The judge called the agency policy arbitrary and capricious. His ruling Monday finalized his March 15 summary judgement order.