In 1990, the government passed a little-known program giving certain individuals a SL6 legal status, which is code for special immigrant juvenile status. SL6 helps hundreds of immigrant youth each year become legal permanent residents, according to The Associated Press.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, or SIJS, is a complicated federal immigration law which was created for dependents of the state who ended up in the foster care system after being abused, abandoned or neglected by relatives. Once an individual receives SIJS, they can never petition for their parents to get green cards and can only petition for their siblings to get green cards after they themselves have become a U.S. citizen.
“The program has quietly helped 10,000 young illegal immigrants become legal permanent residents since 1997,” according to The Associated Press. “It has long been overshadowed by fiery debates over illegal immigration and strict crackdowns passed in Arizona, Utah, Georgia and Alabama.”
Immigration experts have voiced speculation about how deferred action for childhood arrivals will affect the special immigrant juvenile status.
The largest difference between the two programs is that SIJS has been a permanent federal immigration law for over 20 years, and the deferred action for childhood arrivals lacks the same foundation. Political experts note that if Mitt Romney beats President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, Romney may overturn the deferred action for childhood arrivals program immediately.
Advocates believe the deferred action policy will not affect the juvenile visa program, but many believe it is too soon to fully understand the potential rewards or repercussions.
This article is brought to you by Immigration Direct, a trusted resource for matters related to the government’s deferred action program. Take the Free Deferred Action Eligibility Quiz online today.