About the Special Immigrant Status Unit
The Special Immigrant Status Unit (SIS) provides countywide services to all of DCFS 21 Regional Offices. The main focus of the SIS Unit is to identify and provide Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) for eligible, undocumented dependent children.
This unit gathers all pertinent documentation, including Predicate Orders and forwards the information to a DCFS contracted attorney to prepare and file the application with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the children who qualify. The unit also monitors the process and progress with the attorney and are able to get updates from the attorney or from USCIS directly.
The DCFS SIS unit works collaboratively with the USCIS branch of Homeland Security, but DCFS does not report undocumented children and families Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Visit the LA County Office of Immigration Affairs website for more immigration resources.
LA County Office of Immigration Affairs
Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
Current foster youth who are currently undocumented may have a pathway to lawful permanent resident status (“Green Card”) by qualifying for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Once the Juvenile Court has determined that a child meets the criteria for SIJS, a separate referral is made to SISU to begin the process.
In 2008, SIJS eligibility was expanded to include undocumented youth who meet the following criteria:
- Youth who are current dependents of the Juvenile Court
- Youth whose reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or a similar basis found in state law
- Youth whose best interest it is NOT to return to his or her country of nationality or last habitual residence.
- Youth who are unmarried and under the age of 21 in the United States.
Children who receive SIJS will not be at risk of deportation and may remain in the United States legally and provide them a pathway to permanent residency. SIJS also entitles children to qualify for state sponsored programs, financial aid, transitional housing, and other supportive programs.
*DCFS requests that any referrals be sent prior to the child’s 18th birthday to ensure that the Predicate Orders are signed in sufficient time by the Dependency Court judge. Federal rules do not always accept Predicate Orders signed after the child reaches the age of 18.
Learn more about the Special Immigrant Juvenile status or speak to your social worker for more information.
More Relief Options
Undocumented dependent children and their families may qualify for immigration relief other than SIJS. In these instances, the SIS unit will refer these children and families and work collaboratively with other nonprofit immigration community agencies for assistance to submit applications for the following programs:
U-Visas: Undocumented immigrants (adults or children) who are victims of violent crimes such as domestic violence, rape, severe physical assault etc. who are willing to cooperate with law enforcement and DCFS in the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
U Visa Certifications: Verification for USCIS of victim’s collaboration with DCFS in the investigation and possible prosecution of perpetrator(s) of a qualifying crime for U-Visa application purposes.
T-Visas: Undocumented immigrant (adults or children) submitted to forced prostitution or forced labor.
VAWA: Permits an abused undocumented spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to self-petition for a legal resident card without the cooperation of the abuser. An undocumented child can receive VAWA benefits even if he or she was not abused, as long as the child’s parent qualifies for VAWA due to abuse.
Asylum: Fear of persecution in their home country.