The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is one of only a few technical assistance organizations nationally and in California with expertise on immigrant youth, including unaccompanied minor (UAC) issues. Undocumented immigrant children are an extremely vulnerable population, especially when they enter foster care, removal proceedings, and/or the juvenile justice system. The ILRC works to expand the rights of these immigrant children through policy and advocacy efforts, numerous in-person and webinar trainings, and case-specific assistance. We also write one of the only national publications addressing immigrant youth issues entitled, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Other Immigration Options for Children & Youth.
Many immigrant youth in the United States may be eligible to apply for lawful immigration status. One of the most common immigration options for immigrant youth is special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS), which is a pathway to a green card for immigrant children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected by one or both of their parents. Other common forms of relief for children include U visas (for children who were victims of crimes), relief under the Violence Against Women Act (for children who were abused by a U.S. citizen or permanent resident parent or spouse), and asylum (for children who are afraid of returning to their home country).
The ICE Parental Interests Directive: How Child Welfare Agencies Can Advocate with ICE to Ensure Fair Treatment of Detained or Deported Parents
Eligibility for special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) requires the involvement of a state juvenile court. This webinar will go over what needs to be included in a successful SIJS state court predicate order, looking at guidance contained in the USCIS Policy Manual and the new SIJS regulations. We will then take a more detailed look at successful state court orders in both California and Texas as a way to see this guidance in action.
Rachel Prandini - Staff Attorney, ILRC
Rachel is one of ILRC’s staff attorneys based in San Francisco. Rachel focuses on immigrant youth issues, including unaccompanied minors and immigrant youth in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Rachel provides technical assistance and trainings to immigration and state court attorneys, social workers, and judges. She works on statewide and national policy that affects the rights of immigrant youth and is frequently consulted for her expertise in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Rachel co-authored the ILRC’s publication Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Other Immigration Options for Children and Youth.
Prior to joining the ILRC, Rachel represented detained and released unaccompanied minors in removal defense and led a project focusing on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status at Esperanza Immigrant Rights Project in Los Angeles. While at Esperanza, Rachel also performed "Know Your Rights" work in southern California immigration detention centers for minors. Previously, Rachel worked as an associate at Paul Hastings, LLP and volunteered as a Child Advocate for unaccompanied minors.
Rachel earned her law degree from the University of California at Davis, where she was a member of the Immigration Law Clinic and worked on complex deportation defense cases and detention issues. She received her undergraduate degree from Westmont College, where she double-majored in philosophy and political science. Rachel is admitted to the bar in California. She is conversant in Spanish.
Dalia Castillo-Granados - Co-Founder and Director, Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA)
Dalia Castillo-Granados is the co-founder and director of the Children’s Immigration Law Academy (CILA), a project of the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Immigration. Dalia is a frequent speaker on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and led the effort at the ABA to advocate for deferred action for SIJS youth stuck in the visa backlog. Prior to working at CILA, Dalia was a senior attorney at Kids in Need of Defense, a staff attorney at Tahirih Justice Center, a clinical supervising attorney at the University of Houston’s Immigration Clinic, and a Greenberg Traurig, LLP Equal Justice Works fellow at Catholic Charities’ Cabrini Center. Throughout her career, Dalia has represented hundreds of children in their immigration proceedings and before Texas state courts.