FAQs & Explainers

In recent years, California’s appellate courts have provided guidance on the state court’s role in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases. The following decisions clarify many of the common questions that these cases present in state courts, including one-parent SIJS, notice and service issues, and the role of the state court.
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status is a unique, hybrid form of immigration relief that requires the involvement of state courts before a child is eligible to apply for a special immigrant juvenile visa with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. This guide includes an overview of the process of requesting SIJS findings in different types of state courts in California, providing answers to common questions about this process as well as practice pointers for different types of proceedings in California.
The first handout, "AB 60 California Driver’s License: Frequently Asked Questions," is aimed at immigration attorneys and provides an overview of frequently asked questions regarding AB 60 licenses, including some common red flags. The second handout, "Preguntas Acerca de la AB 60," is aimed at community members and written in Spanish. It provides answers to common questions such as whether it is safe to apply for an AB 60 license depending on prior criminal or immigration history.
This FAQ explains questions of legal authority for local law enforcement agencies to be involved in immigration enforcement.  Specifically, the document reviews recent court decisions and examines how the law is evolving in regard to ICE detainers, administrative immigration warrants, and other immigration enforcement mechanisms that local law enforcement may encounter.  The FAQ clarifies that even if there is probable cause to believe that a person is unlawfully present, this is not a basis to arrest, because local law enforcement officers do not have authority to enforce civil immigration law.
SB 873 appropriates $3M to provide legal representation for Unaccompanied Minors in removal proceedings. The law also eliminates any ambiguity that California Superior Courts, including family courts, have jurisdiction to make the findings necessary for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (“SIJS”). This fact sheet outlines how the law benefits Unaccompanied Minors, including practice tips for how advocates can leverage the law to improve practice in state court for SIJS petitions.
With a few exceptions, immigration authorities must use the “categorical approach” to determine whether a criminal conviction triggers a ground of removal. Expert use of the categorical approach may be the most important defense strategy available to immigrants convicted of crimes.