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www.vtbar.org one parent, but not the other, despite the fact that the federal statute contemplates allowing “one-parent SIJ.”7 I have never had to contend with a “reluctant” judge in any of my SIJ cases in Vermont—a trend I hope continues alongside an upward trend in immigrants who find a way to make Vermont their new home. ____________________ Erin Jacobsen, Esq. is a supervising attorney and assistant professor at Vermont Law School’s South Royalton Legal Clinic. Her primary area of focus is immigration law, but she also handles juvenile cases and runs the Clinic’s Prison Project, where she consults with incarcerated women on a wide range of family law matters. ____________________ Patrick Leahy, “U.S. courts should stop picking on immigrant kids” (CNN Online, May 9, 2016). http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/09/opinions/children-need-lawyers-leahy 7 Meghan Johnson and Kele Stewart , “Unequal Access to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: State Court Adjudication of One-Parent Cases” (American Bar Association, July 2014). http://apps.americanbar.org/litigation/committees/childrights/content/articles/summer20140714-unequal-access-special-immigrant-juvenile-status-state-court-adjudication-one-parentcases.html 6 The Children’s Corner child’s best interest to be returned to her/ his country of origin. To this end, Roberto should submit supporting documentation that substantiates the requested special findings, such as affidavits, medical records, and reports and articles about his country’s conditions. Once the child obtains the requisite special findings (and hopefully a detailed order from the court), she/he can petition USCIS for Special Immigrant Juvenile status. The child can then apply for her/his “green card,” or Lawful Permanent Residency, and ultimately citizenship. In a recent CNN op-ed, Senator Leahy implored courts to “stop picking on immigrant kids.”6 He was referring to U.S. immigration courts, after a federal immigration judge argued that children in removal proceedings don’t need lawyers, because ‘even three-year-olds’ can understand immigration law and effectively defend themselves against Department of Homeland Security trial attorneys. Id. But some state courts are also to blame for making a difficult legal process even harder for vulnerable immigrant children. This is especially true where reunification is possible with “Children in U.S. Immigrant Families (By Age Group and State, 1990 versus 2014),” Migration Policy Institute, http://www.migrationpolicy.org/ programs/data-hub/charts/children-immigrantfamilies?width=1000&height=850&iframe=true 2 Id. In 1990, 4.4% of children in Vermont were in immigrant families. In 2014, it was 6.1%. 3 Both cases are composites of several different real-life cases. All identifying information has been completely altered. 4 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(27)(J); INA §101(a)(27)(j) 5 8 CFR 204.11 1 THE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • SUMMER 2016 35