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Younger immigrants in limbo after policy change

Young immigrants seeking refuge in Pennsylvania and around the country must generally file paperwork to do so before turning 21. Under a government program, it may be possible for youths who were neglected or abused by their parents to ask for a green card and a court-appointed guardian. However, the Trump administration has said that those who are 18 or older may already be too old to participate in the program.

Since 2010, more than 50,000 individuals have gotten green cards by being granted special juvenile immigration status. In many cases, it is easier to obtain this status as opposed to applying for asylum. Between fiscal 2014 and fiscal2017, there was a significant increase in applications, and there was also an increase in denials. In the past two fiscal years, 2,000 applications were rejected, which was more than there were in the past seven years combined.

One advocacy group in New York says that the federal government doesn't have the authority to overturn state guardianship laws. In New York, courts do have the authority to issue guardianship orders to those who are 21 and under. California also allows courts to issue guardianship orders for immigrants between the ages of 18 and 21. A federal judge in that state has moved to protect those who have applied for this type of legal status.

Even in a case where immigration law may seemingly favor an individual, there is no guarantee as to how it will play out. However, a person may be more likely to receive a favorable ruling in an immigration matter by having legal representation. A representative may be able to discuss a person's options for obtaining legal status in America.

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