Matter of Keilyn GG. (Marlene HH.)

Matter of Keilyn GG. (Marlene HH.) (2018 NY Slip Op 02226) Matter of Keilyn GG. (Marlene HH.) 2018 NY Slip Op 02226 Decided on March 29, 2018 Appellate Division, Third Department Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431. This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports. Decided and Entered: March 29, 2018 524832 [*1]In the Matter of the Guardianship of KEILYN GG., an Infant. MARLENE HH., Petitioner. KEILYN GG., Appellant. Calendar Date: March 27, 2018 Before: Egan Jr., J.P., Lynch, Devine, Clark and Mulvey, JJ. Theo Liebmann, Hofstra Law Clinic, Hempstead, for appellant. Clark, J. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER Appeal from an order of the Family Court of Sullivan County (McGuire, J.), entered March 8, 2017, which, in a proceeding pursuant to Family Ct Act article 6, among other things, denied petitioner's motion for a special findings order pursuant to 8 USC § 1101 (a) (27) (J). In January 2017, petitioner (hereinafter the mother) filed a petition seeking to be appointed guardian of her daughter, Keilyn [FN1] GG. (hereinafter the child). In support of the guardianship petition, the mother's attorney submitted an affirmation requesting that Family Court make specific findings in the order of guardianship that would allow the child to apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (hereinafter USCIS) for special immigrant juvenile status (hereinafter SIJS). Family Court granted the mother permanent letters of guardianship, but denied the request for an order making special findings for the purpose of filing an SIJS application. The child now appeals. Before a child may seek SIJS from USCIS, a state court with jurisdiction over the juvenile must first issue a special findings order determining that (1) the child is under the age of 21, (2) the child is unmarried, (3) the child is dependent upon a juvenile court or legally committed to an individual appointed by that court, (4) reunification with one or both parents is not viable due to abuse, neglect, abandonment or a similar basis under state law and (5) it would [*2]not be in the child's best interests to return to his or her native country (see 8 USC § 1101 [a] [27] [J] [i], [ii]; Matter of Jose YY., 158 AD3d 200, 201 [2018]; Matter of Marlene G.H. [Maria G.G.U.—Pedro H.P.], 138 AD3d 843, 845 [2016]). By issuing a special findings order, Family Court is not rendering an immigration determination (see Matter of Jose YY., 158 AD3d at 201; Matter of Marisol N.H., 115 AD3d 185, 189 [2014]; Matter of Marcelina M.-G. v Israel S., 112 AD3d 100, 109 [2013]); such order is merely a step in the process to assist USCIS and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, in making the ultimate immigration determination (see Matter of Enis A.C.M. [Blanca E.M.—Carlos V.C.P.], 152 AD3d 690, 692 [2017]; Matter of Marcelina M.-G. v Israel S., 112 AD3d at 109). There is no dispute that the first two criteria are met here. Indeed, ...

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