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