MORE Strategic Initiatives Grants
The Strategic Initiatives Grants (SIG) program provides SJI the flexibility to address national court issues as they occur, and develop solutions to those problems. SJI uses its expertise and the expertise and knowledge of its grantees to address key issues facing courts across the United States. Recent immigration growth is having an impact on state and local courts, including courts along the Southwest Border and other areas of the United States with large immigrant populations. These jurisdictions are dealing with issues such as how to provide culturally appropriate services; increases in gang-crime cases involving immigrants; and the impact of federal and state immigration policies on court operations.
SJI began using the SIG program in FY 2008 to address immigration issues in the state courts at a national impact level. As part of this effort, SJI began a dialogue with the state courts to determine how immigration issues are impacting them. Two overarching themes came out of this dialogue: 1) State court capacity to provide effective service is challenged by the magnitude and intensity of current and anticipated immigration (equal access to justice); and 2) the intersection of federal immigration law and practice, and state law, can result in unintended consequences for litigants and state court systems (equal justice for all).
Two grants were awarded to support these three Program Areas; one to the Center for Public Policy Studies (CPPS); and another to support a collaborative effort between the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the National Judicial College (NJC). SJI continues to support CPPS activities in providing direct technical assistance to the state courts on this critical issue.
In addition to support provided by the SIG program, SJI has also funded individual grants to state and local courts for projects dealing with immigration issues. The final reports of those projects are available below, and new reports will continue to be provided on this website.
INFORMATION GUIDES FOR JUDGES
- Guide for State Courts in Cases Involving Unaccompanied Immigrant Minors
- Criminal Bench Guide on Immigration Consequences of State Court Criminal Actions
- Juvenile & Family Immigration Bench Guide for State Trial Court Judges
- Practitioner’s Guidebook for Addressing Immigration and the State Courts
INFORMATION CARDS FOR JUDGES
As part of SJI sponsored Immigration and the State Courts Initiative, the Center for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) has produced a series of bench cards to provide quick access for state criminal, juvenile, and family court judges and court managers to Federal immigration issues that may have an impact on cases before them. The bench cards are designed to help judges and court managers identify circumstances where a litigant’s immigration status and potential immigration rights might affect the outcome a state court case, or limit the options available to a judge in determining criminal sentences or case dispositions in juvenile and family cases. They are intended to provide an accessible guide to the major issues that a state court judge may face in dealing with immigrant litigants.
The Initiative has produced 14 bench cards discussing how the immigration issues link to state court processing. Nine (9) of the bench cards are revised versions of bench cards produced earlier, and 5 are bench cards on new topics not addressed in the original set of bench cards.
- Glossary of Key Immigration Terms: This card provides definitions of the most important immigration terms.
- Overview of Types of Immigration Status: This describes the eligibility requirements for naturalization, lawful permanent resident status, VAWA self-petitioner status, Special Immigrant Juvenile status, T (trafficking victim) and U (crime victim) visas, and temporary visas.
- Overview of Immigration Consequences of State Court Criminal Convictions: 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: 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: Participation in drug court poses risks to a per5son’s immigration status for any immigrant, including lawful permanent residents.
- Good Moral Character: Good moral character is a requirement to be eligible for a variety of discretionary benefits, including naturalization.
- Child Custody and Placement: Immigration status can affect where and with whom immigrants will be able to live.
- Immigration Rights of Battered Spouses and Children: There are some special protections for immigrant battered spouses and children, including pathways to becoming a lawful permanent resident.
- Special Immigrant Juvenile Status: This is a pathway for abused or abandoned unauthorized immigrant children to become lawful residents.
- Advising Juveniles in Delinquency Plea Hearings: Actions by a juvenile in a delinquency hearing can jeopardize his or her immigration status or eligibility for certain discretionary immigration benefits.
- Requirements of the Hague Convention: The Hague Convention applies to parental responsibility and the protection of children in international situations.
- Requirements of the Vienna Convention: The Vienna Convention provides for the right of a national of one signatory country who is in prison, custody or detention in another signatory country to converse and correspond with the consulate of his or her home country.
- Immigration Rights of Victims of Human Trafficking: There are non-immigrant visas available for individuals who have been the victims of human trafficking, including T visas, U visas, and VAWA self-petitioner rights.
- Uses of State Criminal Court Records in Immigration Court Hearings: Immigration courts routinely use a wide range of records from a criminal trial in determining whether a particular conviction is for a crime that carries immigration consequences under Federal immigration law.
- Information Card: Unaccompanied Immigrant Children and the State Courts
REPORTS AND KEY DOCUMENTS
- Dependency Filings in State Juvenile Courts On Behalf of Unaccompanied Alien Children Seeking Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
- Uses of State Court Criminal Records in Immigration Proceedings (The Court Manager, Vol. 26, Issue 4)
- New Mexico Justice System Interpreter Resource Partnership
- Implications of Padilla v. Kentucky on State Court Criminal Judges
- The Effect of Padilla v. Kentucky on State Court Judges
- New Mexico Justice System Interpreter Resource Partnership – Final Grant Report
- Federal Immigration Policy and the State Court
- Immigration Issues in the Minnesota Courts: Annual Judges Conference Summary
IMPORTANT LINKS AND CONTACTS
- Center For Public Policy Studies
- Department of Justice/Executive Office of Immigration Review
- Pew Hispanic Center
- Federal Immigration Policy & the State Courts: FAQ’s (CPPS)