Immigration & the State Courts Initiative Releases Bench Cards for Criminal, Family, and Juvenile Court Judges
As part of the SJI Immigration and the State Courts Initiative, the Center for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) has produced an initial series of bench cards on federal immigration issues designed for state criminal, juvenile, and family court judges. The bench cards are designed to help judges identify circumstances where a litigant's immigration status may impact a state court case, and/or limit the options available to judges in determining criminal sentences or case dispositions in juvenile and family cases. They are intended to complement the more detailed CPPS Bench Guides on immigration issues.
These new bench cards cover the following topics:
- Glossary of Key Immigration Terms. This card provides definitions of the most important immigration terms.
- Overview of Types of Immigration Status. Describes the eligibility requirements for naturalization, lawful permanent resident status, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioner status, Special Immigrant Juvenile status, T (trafficking victim) and U (crime victim) visas, and temporary visas.
- Immigration Relief Requiring Discretionary Approval. Lists the requirements for different types of status that are subject to the discretion of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) or the immigration courts.
- Overview of Immigration Consequences of State Court Criminal Convictions. Discusses how conviction of a variety of crimes can cause a person to be deportable, inadmissible, or ineligible for discretionary immigration relief.
- Eligibility for Probation, Work, Benefits, and Services. Discusses how immigration status can affect a litigant's eligibility for work authorization and federally or state funded treatment or services that might be ordered by a judge.
- Risks to Immigrants From Drug Court Participation. Explains how participation in drug court poses risks to a person's immigration status for any immigrant, including lawful permanent residents.
- Good Moral Character. Explains why good moral character is a requirement to be eligible for a variety of discretionary benefits, including naturalization.
- Child Custody and Placement. Discusses how immigration status can affect where and with whom immigrants will be able to live.
- Immigration Rights of Battered Spouses and Children. Lists some of the special protections for immigrant battered spouses and children, including pathways to becoming a lawful permanent resident.
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. Explains this status as a pathway for abused or abandoned unauthorized immigrant children to become lawful residents.
The bench cards are available for download on the SJI website. CPPS also has a website available for background information on this initiative, recent reports, and guidance for how to obtain technical assistance. There are three immigration and the state courts bench books available in addition to these new bench cards: