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Mary Ryan Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of KIND in SJC Case

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Mary K. Ryan, a partner in Nutter’s Litigation Department, submitted an amicus brief on behalf of several leading organizations, including Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), the American Immigration Lawyers Association New England Chapter, and Greater Boston Legal Services, among others, in a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) case which received a favorable outcome.

In the decision concerning the guardianship of Yosselin Guadalupe Penate, the SJC held that a state court must make Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ) findings if requested by a child as to whichever parent the child names – if it is just one parent, then as to that parent; if the child names both parents, then as to both parents. The SJC held that is was not necessary for the state court to interpret the language of the SIJ statute requiring a finding on neglect, abuse, or abandonment by “one or both” parents, given the limited role of the state courts; that was a question for the federal immigration authorities. This holding should be an important one in the national debate on the interpretation of this critical language in the SIJ statute.

Nutter has a long history of handling SIJ and asylum cases for KIND. Founded by Angelina Jolie and Microsoft Corp., KIND serves as the leading organization for the protection of children who enter the U.S. immigration system alone and strives to ensure that no such child appears in immigration court without representation. KIND achieves fundamental fairness through high-quality legal representation and by advancing the child’s best interests, safety, and well-being.

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