Juliana came to the United States as a seven-year-old, crossing the border from Michoacán Mexico with her four-year-old sister. Her father, who had been living in California for years, was essentially a stranger to her and she soon learned she wasn't safe with him. 1/9 Image
Juliana is one of thousands of young people in CA who have Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), a form of humanitarian relief for immigrant children placed in the custody of a state agency or person appointed by a court bc of parental abuse, abandonment, or neglect. 2/9
In 2018, Public Counsel joined @manatt and @lccrsf in filing a class action suit challenging an unlawful policy by the Trump Administration that would have denied humanitarian relief like SIJS to hundreds of immigrant children in CA. Juliana was one of the class members. 3/9
“Although I’m only 24, I have been on a long journey in this country. I moved here as a child and reunited with my family in California, where I had to learn quickly how to speak English, make friends, and navigate the school system.” 4/9 Image
“But hardest of all was living with my father who regularly abused me. I spent years playing lots of sport and joining every club I could think of, just to be out of my house.” 5/9
“When I learned my legal status would make college difficult, I decided to go to community college and live with my sister, so I didn’t have to be near my dad anymore. I slept on her couch and worried most nights, wondering whether I would one day be deported.” 6/9
“A mentor of mine from a math/science program urged me to talk to lawyers and find a way to go to college. I enrolled in #DACA, which was a start. In 2017, my mentor became my guardian. I was eligible for SIJS due to the the abuse I suffered with my dad, so we applied.” 7/9 Image
“After months of waiting and worrying, and hearing rumors that they were trying to change the program I decided to join a class action lawsuit to push the government to protect us. It was really hard and I constantly worried about retaliation, but in the end, we won.” 8/9
“I got SIJS around Christmas last year & my Green Card application was approved around my birthday. Both have been like gifts to me & nearly 2,500 others who got SIJS because of our lawsuit. I’m relieved & ready to be a person who can focus on school, my health, & my family.” 9/9
To learn more about Juliana and the class action lawsuit, visit: publiccounsel.org/stories?id=0308 /END #immigrantrights #webelong

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