October 26, 2016
A Weil team based in Washington, D.C. and led by partner Holly Loiseau and associate Denisse Velarde-Cubek secured Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a form of asylum for minors, for a child from El Salvador who became a target for Salvadoran gangs after the death of the child’s caretaker, his grandmother. At 16, the child escaped to Virginia to live with his uncle, his only remaining family member. Upon entry into the United States, the child was apprehended and placed in removal proceedings. Soon thereafter, the matter was referred to Weil through the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USRI), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of immigrants, refugees and those who have been uprooted worldwide.
Ms. Velarde-Cubek worked with the Embassy of El Salvador and a Salvadoran agency dedicated to children and family rights to obtain supporting documentation that the child did not have any remaining familial support in El Salvador. With this supporting documentation, she was able to obtain a special finding of facts from the Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court that the child was dependent upon the court system, that reunification with one or both parents was not viable due to abuse, abandonment or neglect, and that it was in the child’s best interest to stay in the United States. Weil submitted these findings to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), along with the child’s SIJS application, which USCIS granted. The child will now be able to apply for permanent residency and eventually could become a U.S. citizen.
The D.C.-based team also represented the child in federal immigration court, requesting a continuance on the removal proceedings, so that the child could apply for SIJS and remain in the United States. Weil will submit a motion to terminate these proceedings based on the child’s now-legal status in the United States.