Amaya v. Rivera

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Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying Appellant's motion to make three predicate findings necessary to petition to petition the federal government for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status after awarding sole physical custody of A.A. to Appellant, holding that a child custody order satisfies the dependency or custody prong for SIJ predicate findings.

The district court concluded that Appellant did not satisfy the first two predicate SIJ findings because the court did not "appoint" Appellant to have custody over A.A. and that Appellant did not prove that A.A. was unable to reunify with both parents, rather than with just her father. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a child custody order can satisfy the first predicate SIJ finding requiring a person to be "appointed" to have custody over a juvenile; (2) the second predicate SIJ finding can be made where reunification is not viable with one parent due to abuse, abandonment, neglect, or other similar basis under Nevada law; and (3) because the district court reached the opposite conclusions and failed to determine whether the third predicate was met, the case must be remanded for further adjudication.

Primary Holding
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying Appellant's motion to make three predicate findings necessary to petition to petition the federal government for special immigrant juvenile (SIJ) status after awarding sole physical custody of A.A. to Appellant, holding that a child custody order satisfies the dependency or custody prong for SIJ predicate findings.

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