Children Offered Chance at Pathway to Citizenship
Lauren Isenhart and Tony Walner spent the better part of this year volunteering their time at CVLS in order to help low-income families achieve stability in the United States. Through the use of Special Immigrant Status (SIJS), undocumented children are able to take an important step on their pathway to citizenship in the United States. These children often find themselves in the U.S. due to dangerous circumstances in their home county and the abuse, neglect, or abandonment of one or both of their parents.
This spring, Lauren worked on Eva’s case. Eva has a 17-year-old daughter whose father abandoned her. Since it would be unsafe to return to her home country of Honduras, Lauren helped Eva petition for custody, seeking the special findings required for SIJS. After successfully asking the Court to appoint a special representative for the child’s deceased father, Lauren moved for entry of judgment, and Eva was awarded exactly what her daughter needs to apply for SIJS.
While Lauren was hard at work representing Eva, Tony took on Zeily’s case. At the time Tony stepped in, Zeily had been taking care of her 16-year-old daughter alone for over 10 years. Like in Lauren’s case, Tony helped Zeily file for sole decision-making and parenting time. After a final hearing, the Court found that it was in the child’s best interests not to return to her home county.
The children in both of these cases are now able to make a strong case for SIJS, thanks to Tony and Lauren. These Rule 711-licensed law students used their internship to make a meaningful, positive change for their clients.