New Minnesota law establishes juvenile guardianship for at-risk youth – WCCO

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (WCCO) – A new bill establishing a juvenile guardianship process for at-risk youth aged 18 to 21 was signed into law on Monday.

The bill signed by Governor Tim Walz aims to ensure that these young people receive the resources necessary for their health, safety and education.

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Previously, the state of Minnesota only had a process for youth under 18. This created a problem for young immigrants between the ages of 18 and 21 who were trying to obtain protection under the special juvenile immigrant status.

(credit: CBS)

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SIJS is an immigration classification that allows individuals to apply for and obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States. It is available to certain undocumented immigrants under the age of 21 who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by one or both parents.

Guardianship is the most common way for the family court to gain jurisdiction over a minor, allowing them to apply for SIJS. Minnesota’s 18-21 year olds would have to jump through more hoops and wait longer for protection because they weren’t eligible for the juvenile guardianship process.

Thanks to the new law, more young immigrants will now be able to obtain a green card, obtain work authorization and possibly apply for American citizenship.

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The bill passed with bipartisan support in both the Minnesota House and the Senate.

Martin E. Berry