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2019 Updates and Strategies for Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) Cases for Youth Ages 18-21

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Produced on March 19, 2019

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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

Are you facing USCIS Requests for Evidence (RFE), Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs), and Denials on your SIJS cases for youth clients between the ages of 18-21? Learn about 2019 updates on USCIS’ changing adjudication of these cases from presenters Rebecca Sosa, Crystal Fleming, and Cristina Romero. The program will also explore strategies for tackling Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases for youth ages 18-21, particularly through the lens of ongoing federal district court litigation in New York and California.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss updates on USCIS recent denials of SIJS cases for youth ages 18-21 in states such as New York and California, where protection extends up to age 21
  2. Examine the latest developments on a proposed class action lawsuit challenging USCIS denials of 18-21 cases in New York federal district court: R.F.M. et. al.  v. Nielsen, et. al., Case 1:18-cv-05068 (S.D.N.Y. 06/07/18)
  3. Gain an update on Class Certification for 18-21 SIJS cases in California in J.L. et. al. v. Cissna et. al., Case 5:18-cv-04914 (N.D. Ca.)
  4. Explore strategies for responding to USCIS Requests for Evidence (RFE), Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID), and Denials

  5. Identify ethical issues in advising youth ages 18-21

Credit Information

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Crystal Fleming

New York Legal Assistance Group

Crystal Fleming joined NYLAG’s Immigrant Protection Unit in December 2014 as a Staff Attorney and became the Coordinating Attorney for the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and Unaccompanied Children’s Project in 2017.  She leads the Project’s work on behalf of unaccompanied children and immigrant youth seeking asylum and other relief from deportation in immigration courts. Crystal supervises attorneys and legal fellows representing unaccompanied children in immigration and family courts. She provides substantial training and mentorship for attorneys fighting for the rights of immigrant children.  In addition to representing children in Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) cases in the family and immigration courts, Crystal represents children in their asylum claims before the immigration service and in immigration court. She also represents adults with children in their asylum claims before immigration court. Crystal previously served as a Staff Attorney in the Immigrant Protection Unit and joined NYLAG as a justice AmeriCorps Fellow representing released unaccompanied minors in deportation defense cases.  Crystal focused on immigrant youth issues, including unaccompanied minors and immigrant youth in removal proceedings. She served immigrants on a variety of civil legal matters, including family law and immigration. Crystal received her law degree from Capital University Law School and her undergraduate degree from George Mason University. While in law school, Crystal worked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She also participated in the Capital University Law School Legal Clinic, where she helped represent clients in criminal and civil matters.

Cristina Romero

Legal Aid Society

Tina Romero is staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society. She specializes in immigrant youth representation, practicing in both state and federal courts. She advises the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Rights Practice on immigration matters, supervises pro bono attorneys, and coordinates the New York City SIJS Advocates' group, which engages in local and national policy advocacy. In 2014, she assisted in the creation of the ICARE coalition to ensure unaccompanied children in New York City obtained representation in immigration court. She co-teaches an externship at Columbia Law School on Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth. Tina graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2001. She received her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2005. She is admitted in New York and Illinois.

Rebecca Sosa

Sosa Law

Rebecca L. Sosa, Esq. is an immigration attorney based in New York City.  Rebecca’s firm, Sosa Law, focuses on family-based immigration, humanitarian relief, and removal defense in Spanish and English.  Rebecca received her J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (Boalt Hall), and B.A. with honors in Psychology from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.  Rebecca’s immigration practice draws upon on her study of and published research on working with children who have experienced trauma. Rebecca is admitted to the bar in New York and Florida.

Rebecca is an active member of the New York chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).  She has previously served as a Co-Chair of the NY AILA Pro Bono Committee, where she coordinated a Children’s Docket to provide pro bono consultations to unrepresented children facing deportation, and organized the New York City Immigrant Advocacy Initiative (NYCIAI) free immigration clinics throughout the city.  Rebecca was also Co-Chair of the NY AILA Ethics / Unlawful Practice of Law Committee, and a member of the Protecting Immigrant New Yorkers Task Force (PINY).  Rebecca is a member of the NYC Bar Association Immigration & Nationality Committee, and has served as the Co-chair of the Asylum and Immigration Courts subcommittee.

Rebecca has a long-standing dedication to pro bono service.  In 2015 The New York Law Journal named Rebecca as a Lawyer Who Leads by Example based on her outstanding record of providing crucial legal services to poor New Yorkers.  Rebecca was also awarded the 2013 Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Service Award, where she addressed the Florida Supreme Court about her passion for pro bono work.  Rebecca was a Recipient of the Legal Aid Society’s 2010 Pro Bono Publico Award for providing outstanding legal assistance to a major community organization in New York.

Rebecca can be reached at SosaLawNYC@gmail.com.


Jacob Z.


Jeanelle M.

Thank you!

arthur a.

Well presented, helpful notes, excellent presenters.

Terryl M.

Very interesting

Charlene I.

This was the best course I have taken on Lawline thus far. The lawyers were enthusiastic, well informed and clearly passionate and committed to their work.


Great lecture

Jenn H.

Really enjoyed the faculty. Great depth of knowledge.

catherine d.

Took this in part of Paralegal CLE requirements.

Gwen I.

Great panel! Thoroughly covered nuanced subject matter in highly understandable manner. Thank you.

David Z.

wonderful trainers. Makes me proud to be a lawyer.

Benjamin D.

Fine Panel

Antonio R.

Very well presented interesting and informative to today's problems with youth and immigration.

Michael R.

Interesting Interesting

Robin B.

Very important topic. Especially for those of us practicing in the area of juvenile law. Great presenters as well.

Evelyn A.

One of the best lawline cle’s . It was very informative and understandable for a person without an immigration background .

John A.

definitely was impacted by late breaking, important California case, but the panel handled it well.

Kichul K.

Very informative

Heidi O.

This was an interesting presentation.

Kelly H.

Good information!

David S.

Terrific, dynamic presenters who made the material accessible and exciting. They each were good on their own, and collectively they had a nice chemistry. Please invite them to do more CLEs.

carol b.

Impressive group of women who know their topic. Excellent!

David K.

Very informative.

Stuart I. J.


Ajay S.

Thank you!

Charlotte J.

Informative presentation

sharmela b.

Very needed course

Kirk L.


Brian P.

Very well done!!

william s.

Very good speakers

Marguerite M.

Good topic. I recommend more like this.

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