In the past, many alien children who had been found to be mistreated by their parents were protected from abuse by intervening State courts. A State court may have determined that a child was abused, abandoned, or neglected, removed the child from the harmful caregiver, found that it was in the best interests of the child to remain in the United States, and placed the child in foster care. However, when the child aged out of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction, he or she often had no means of obtaining legal immigration status, attending college, or getting a job. To address this, Congress created the Special Immigrant Juvenile classification. However, otherwise qualified juveniles had difficulty obtaining visas because of their inability to demonstrate that they would not become a public charge in the United States.
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