The USCIS Ombudsman's office has issued a report making recommendations on the processing by USCIS of kids under the Special Immigrant Juveniles rules. According to Ombudsman January Contreras:

It has long been the practice of the U.S. Government to demonstrate global leadership by providing a number of humanitarian avenues for immigrants who are in the most vulnerable and desperate of situations.  One such population is addressed in this report: children who find themselves in this country without parental support due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or another similar basis.  This report issues recommendations regarding adjudications for those who seek Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status.   

The SIJ stakeholder experience with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) varies widely from city to city.  In some locations, stakeholders express appreciation for accessible and knowledgeable SIJ experts at USCIS.  There is a sense that leaders in these field offices "get it" when it comes to the sense of urgency and difficult reality that these children are facing.  At the same time, other stakeholders share concerns about a void in access to local contacts who specialize in SIJ adjudications and interviews, as well as a lack of training and guidance to support efficient and appropriate adjudications.  Individuals and organizations seeking to assist SIJ applicants also express concern about a lack of revised guidance reflective of the most current advancements in law.  

For USCIS, there is an opportunity to identify leadership teams that have implemented best practices and to encourage the adoption of these practices throughout the nation.  Furthermore, training and up-to-date guidance to support adjudicators in this work represent important steps to achieve timely and consistently sound decisions.  In this way, USCIS can benefit from building best practices into SIJ adjudication processes nationwide, and the public can benefit from uniformly sound treatment and decisions no matter which field office they rely on for services.       

Here's a copy of the report and hopefully USCIS will pay attention to the helpful recommendations.


USCIS Ombudsman reports on Special Immigrant Juveniles