Washington D.C. (December 23, 2020) – This month, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein and Fox’s pro bono practice assisted in its first successful SIJ classification request through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) classification provides children who have been subject to state juvenile court proceedings related to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or a similar basis under state law the ability to seek lawful permanent residence in the United States. The firm is pleased that the work of the pro bono team’s recent success will allow their first client, a minor escaping persecution in their home country, to spend the holiday season with his family in the United States knowing that he is eligible for permanent residency. Sterne Kessler is proud to further its existing partnership with the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) in this new capacity.
This first SIJ classification request, which was completed by pro bono team members Jean Paul “Yugo” Nagashima and Adam F. Benavides, underscores Sterne Kessler’s continued, firm-wide partnership with LAJC. In 2018, the firm’s pro bono practice filed several petitions for grant of habeas corpus to release and reunite refugees with family members, and in January of 2019, Sterne Kessler filed a class action lawsuit against the Office of Refugee Resettlement (JECM v. Hayes, in the Eastern District of Virginia). In addition to serving as counsel in several pro bono immigration bond hearings, the firm has assisted with multiple U-visa applications for victims of domestic abuse. Through Sterne Kessler’s pro bono efforts, detained children continue to be returned to the custody of their families; immigrant children who are victims of domestic abuse and neglect are obtaining a road to permanent residency; and the government continues to be held accountable.
Sterne Kessler is dedicated to providing pro bono support to legal justice organizations and organizations serving underserved communities—both locally and internationally. A list of representative matters, as well as further information on the award-winning practice, is available here.