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National Legal Center for Immigrants

Ninth Circuit Expands the “Categorical Approach” to Evaluating the Immigration Effect of State Court Convictions

By Nadine Wettstein

In a deeply split decision, with separate concurring and dissenting opinions, the en banc Ninth Circuit significantly expanded the reach of its “modified categorical approach” for deciding whether a conviction was an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.   The court overturned a prior en banc decision, Navarro-Lopez v. Gonzales, 503 F.3d 1063 (9th Cir. 2007), which had governed immigration cases arising in the Ninth Circuit since 2007.

USCIS Issues Proposed Regulations Pertaining to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status

By Sarah Bronstein

On September 6, 2011, the USCIS issued proposed regulations implementing changes to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) relating to Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) (76 FR 54978) (Sept. 6, 2011).  SIJS is an immigration benefit available to children who have been the victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect.   The proposed regulations incorporate several legislative amendments culminating in the significant changes that were made by the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization act of 2008 (TVPRA 2008). 

New USCIS Policy Memos Implement VAWA 2005 Self-Petitioning Amendments

By Susan Schreiber

VAWA 2005, signed into law in January 2006, extended self-petitioning eligibility to (a) abused parents of adult U.S. citizens, and (b) abused sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents over age 21 and under 25, who may apply as self-petitioning children if the abuse was a central reason for the delay in filing.   Recent policy memoranda issued by USCIS provides new guidance on eligibility to self-petition in each of these categories