This webinar will provide updates on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and share strategies for pursuing SIJS and SIJS-based adjustment of status for young people in removal proceedings in light of the various challenges that immigration court respondents face. This webinar is intended for those with some prior familiarity with SIJS.
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.
Bonita S. Gutierrez - Founder, Open Immigration Legal Services
Bonita S. Gutierrez is a nonprofit immigration attorney based in Oakland and a Bay Area native. In 2009, she graduated from Columbia Law School. She cut her teeth in New York as a litigation associate at a large law firm and later served as a defense counsel with the New York State Office of the Attorney General. In 2014, she returned to the Bay Area and began working with fellow immigration attorney, Helen Lawrence, who helped her gain immigration law skills and knowledge. In 2017, Bonita founded a one-woman nonprofit legal office called Open Immigration Legal Services, where she works serving low-income clients in removal defense and custody redetermination hearings, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status cases, asylum claims, and applications for U and T-visas. She is licensed in New York and California.