Q: If an undocumented minor is charged with a sexual crime, does that automatically disqualify him or her from applying for some type of immigration status (e.g. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U Visa)?
A: If the undocumented minor is charged with a sex crime in delinquency proceedings, that would not disqualify them from applying to get some kind of immigration status that they are otherwise eligible for (e.g. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, U Visa). Delinquency adjudications are not considered convictions for immigration purposes and thus do not carry the same dire consequences. However, an adjudication for a sex crime would be considered as part of the discretionary determination for whether the child merits immigration relief, so it could prejudice their application even though it won’t present an outright bar. Youth with serious delinquency adjudications should consult with an experienced immigration attorney before applying for any type of immigration benefit.
Citation: Matter of Devison, 22 I&N Dec. 1362 (BIA 2000).
Thank you to Rachel Prandini of the Immigrant Legal Resource Center for the answer to this question. ILRC has a wide range of information on immigration, including publications and trainings on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. To learn more, contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org