Marta - Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

In a noteworthy victory for local immigrant children that serves as a first for LSSP and one of the first for the Charlotte USCIS office, pro bono attorneys Peggy Kane and Theresa Conduah recently won special immigrant juvenile status involving a single parent for a 18-year-old girl living in Charlotte.

When 18-year-old Marta* entered the U.S., she left behind a life of abuse in Honduras*. She fled to escape her father, who had sexually and physically abused her for years, to be reunited with her mother in Charlotte. Safe from her former abuser, she then had to find a way to legally stay in the U.S. with her mother. Recently, Marta’s case successfully resolved and has become a monumental victory for local children involved in special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) cases with a single parent.

Pro bono attorneys Peggy Kane and Theresa Conduah, both formerly of Alston and Bird, initially hoped to help Marta by seeking asylum, but they soon realized there was another, possibly better way to litigate her case. After helping Marta’s mother gain sole custody of her, they filed for her SIJS citing abuse from only one of her parents. Before this case, SIJS cases LSSP had won were in situations where both parents had abused, neglected or abandoned the child and a close relative took the child in. But in the first single-parent victory for LSSP and one of the first for Charlotte, Marta was granted SIJS. This case not only changed the lives of Marta and her mother but also now serves as an example for how other children in similar crises can be aided in their pursuit of security.

*Details have been changed to protect identities