A May 17 Washington Post article that explores confusion surrounding a visa program designed for juvenile immigrants quoted alumna Tanishka Cruz, ’12.
The article notes that the Virginia Court of Appeals is considering two cases that may decide if young undocumented immigrants who have parents who abused, neglected or abandoned them can receive special visas. A federal visa program for special juvenile immigrants requires family judges to affirm their need for protection, the article notes, adding that judges in some Virginia counties have left the juveniles in limbo by interpreting the rules in different ways.
An attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia, Cruz is representing the mothers of two children in the cases before the state’s Court of Appeals. One is the mother of a 13-year-old from Honduras who said the father is abusive and has threatened to kidnap his son for ransom money, the other mother, from Guatemala, conceived her now-16-year-old son during a rape.
Cruz said that the federal statute governing the visa program requires a ruling from a local judge.
“The order…in no way confers immigration status on the child,” Cruz told the Post. “But without that order, the door is closed; they can’t even knock.”