Legislative Bill 670 is Law: A Necessary Step to Qualifying for SIJ Relief
Advocacy Media Release | July 19, 2018
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Contact: Dawn Bashara, Communications and Development Director
Omaha, NE – On April 23, 2018, Legislative Bill 670 (which included Legislative Bill 826 as an amendment) was signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts. LB 826 was introduced by Senator Tony Vargas on January 4, 2018. The bill ensures that vulnerable youth in Nebraska can continue to access the relief for which they are eligible and that is in their best interest.
This amendment clarifies and reaffirms that Nebraska State courts—who are tasked with making determinations regarding the custody and care of juveniles—have the jurisdiction and authority to make factual findings related to (1) whether a child has been abused, abandoned, or neglected, (2) whether parental reunification is viable, and (3) whether it would be in the child’s best interest to be removed to his or her country of nationality.
Such findings are crucial for immigrant youth in the United States seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) relief. SIJ relief can lead to work authorization, permanent residence, and eventually U.S. citizenship.
Former ILC client Angela testified on how SIJ relief impacted her life, “I was born in a very small town in El Salvador where I had no opportunity to progress in life …. And I am very, very thankful that this great nation gave me the opportunity to stay …. I lived with my mother [in El Salvador]. She had a very rare mental illness. My father was an alcoholic. My brother was involved in violence …. That’s why I decided to come to the United States. And now I am able to have the life I’ve always wanted… This year I will be graduating [and] going to college to study medicine … [,] with the goal to one day become a cardiologist and be able to inspire others.”
Interviews are available with ILC attorneys and former clients in relation to LB 670.