Trump Administration Deporting Abused Children Who Qualify for Green Cards

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys have recently stated on the record to immigration judges that there is new national guidance to seek removal (deportation) orders against abused, abandoned and neglected children who have pending applications for lawful permanent residence (green cards).

In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) into law. Section 235(d) of the TVPRA extended permanent protection for undocumented children who have been determined by a state court to have been abused, abandoned, or neglected under state law (and other requirements). Children who meet the requirements of the TVPRA are “Special Immigrant Juveniles” and are eligible for green cards.

The three-year old in this photo is shown on his way to the airport after nearly two years of detention at Berks family prison in Pennsylvania. He is one of four child plaintiffs (ages 3, 5, 8, and 16) with approved Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and pending green card applications that the Trump Administration is currently fighting to deport in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. (Photo provided by author)

The new position of ICE prosecutors is that abused, abandoned and neglected children who qualify for this relief should be ordered removed (deported) by immigration judges now, and then ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations can decide whether to enforce the deportation order or allow them to remain in the United States.  In a case currently pending before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Trump Administration is fighting to deport these vulnerable children who have been determined by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to have been abused, abandoned or neglected, qualify for relief under the law, and who have green card applications on file.

ICE Chief Counsel has not yet shared this guidance outside the agency.

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Amy Maldonado is an immigration attorney. She tweets from @AmyMaldonadoLaw.

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