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Organization fights for immigrant juveniles in New Hampshire

Dan Tuohy

According to the New Hampshire Brazilian Council, this population is vulnerable to being victims of immigration scams and fraud.

The New Hampshire Brazilian Council has received a $5,000 grant from the New Hampshire Bar Association to work with special immigrant juveniles.

The council will assist people before they turn 18 years old to seek lawful, permanent residence in the United States due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect by one or both of their parents.

Last year there were only 35 applications submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Immigration attorney Bruno D’Britto says it’s because many don’t know this benefit exists.

“Many people are being scammed,” D’Britto says. People are trying to pass as attorneys and ask the families for thousands of dollars or craft stories that are not true to get a green card rapidly.

“In New Hampshire, we don’t have a lot of attorneys to really work on special immigrant juveniles cases, and the law that we have is very restrictive as to whom can use the benefit,” said D’Britto.

The council is currently advocating changing the maximum age of application from 18 to 21 years old. In New Hampshire, as soon as the juveniles turn 18, the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over them anymore, but the federal statute allows it to 21 years old.

“A lot of people think that these folks are undocumented by choice, but there is no law that would make them eligible. We will fight for that,” said D’Britto.

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.
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