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Mary Ryan Discusses Legal Status of Abandoned Immigrant Children in SJC Cases in the Springfield Republican

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Mary K. Ryan, a partner in Nutter’s Litigation Department, commented on two cases involving abandoned immigrant children, and what standards Massachusetts courts should apply regarding child welfare, being considered by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the Springfield Republican. A state court must make a child welfare finding under state law before permanent legal status is granted by the U.S. In the article, “SJC considers when abandoned immigrant children can get legal status,” Mary, who serves as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Working Group on Unaccompanied Minor Immigrants, notes that the state courts are not being asked to make immigration decisions. She points out that the cases are child welfare cases, part and parcel of the entire body of law in Massachusetts that protects the welfare of children.

According to Mary, who represents a group of immigration lawyers and legal defense organizations that filed amicus briefs in both cases, 59,000 unaccompanied minors crossed the border into the U.S. last year, and these children often face horrible conditions in their home countries. “The law is that when a child has been deprived of the opportunity to thrive...they were abused, abandoned or neglected, we here in America will provide special immigration status for those children," she said.

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