A group of migrants in New Jersey sued the Trump administration Monday, saying they were unfairly denied legal immigration status in United States as minors after allegedly fleeing abuse or neglect in their native countries.
What are the details?
According to Reuters, the complaint claims "The government has imposed a new requirement for eligibility, resulting in the delay and denial of scores of meritorious petitions and placing young people in jeopardy of deportation." The plaintiffs are four unnamed migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador who came to America through the southern border during a surge of unaccompanied minors crossing in 2014 and 2015.
The issue at hand is the interpretation of what's known as Special Immigrant Juvenile status, which can be used to obtain green cards for "a child who's a non-citizen and has been abandoned, neglected or abused by one or both parents," according to the law firm Rumbold & Seidelman, LLP.
In the New Jersey suit, the plaintiffs argue they were unfairly denied this form of asylum because they are now between the ages of 18 to 21, whereas as younger applicants are granted special favor.
The Trump administration has determined that state courts "lacked jurisdiction and authority to enter findings for young adult immigrants" the New York Law Journal reported, and argues it's adhering to the laws of a majority of states which recognize 18 as the age of majority.
So far this year, the federal government has also been hit with court challenges against its administration of the Special Immigrant Juvenile statute four times. Attorneys representing the New Jersey migrants speculate there are more than 100 other people who would be eligible to join in on their class action lawsuit.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Special Immigrant Juvenile status was implemented by Congress as part of the Immigration Act of 1990.
While critics of the SIJS say it's a loophole used by illegal immigrants to gain asylum, migrants over the age of 18 say they're being mistreated. One plaintiff who sued in California last month told the Times of the Trump administration, "I think they're just trying to find loopholes, honestly, to not let people have what was once provided to them."
He added, "The small possibility that we have to become U.S. citizens...is getting smaller and smaller. I feel like that's their goal: to make it almost impossible for one to be legally in the U.S."