Many applicants in New York for Special Immigrant Juvenile status have had their applications rejected by the Trump administration, according to reports.
The special provision allows children under the age of 21 who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by one or both parents, to obtain a green card.
But, in the last several weeks, some applicants for this special status has been denied “because of an unannounced policy reversal by the Trump administration,” reported the New York Times on Wednesday, April 18.
“Under the new interpretation, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said that applicants in New York who were over 18, but not yet 21, when they began the application process no longer qualify,” the paper said.
It said that, for the last 10 years, such cases have routinely been approved.
But, as the Trump administration focuses on limiting all forms of immigration and tries to stop the flow of unaccompanied minors at the Mexico-United States border, “it appears to be targeting the special immigrant status,” the Times said.
“They are looking for what he calls ‘loopholes,’ and what we call protections, and trying to close them,” Wendy Young, the executive director of Kids In Need of Defense, a nonprofit organization that represents young immigrants who come to the country unaccompanied, told the Times.
“Under this administration, everybody is presenting a fraudulent claim, rather than, ‘Why is this child here and do they need protection?’” she added.
To date, at least 81 applicants from the New York City area have been denied or were told they would soon be denied by the immigration agency, The Legal Aid Society of New York told the Times.
It said that, in total, more than 1,000 young people across the state, not all of them from Central America, could be affected.
“Although there are other states that follow a process similar to New York’s, including California, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington, lawyers believe that New York has seen the most denials,” the Times said.