February 24, 2015
Daniel Edozie, who has Nigerian roots, was born in Greenwich, England, where he grew up and poor and constantly moving from place to place. He lived with his grandparents for eight months, and came to Boston with his mother in 2004 in search of a new life and a fresh star. Instead, they had to survive food and housing insecurity from the day they arrived. For the next two years, they were homeless and occasionally staying in shelters, traveling first to Las Vegas and then Los Angeles. In July 2005, while he was in middle school, he entered the foster care system, and was taken in by Faye Brim. In 2006, he faced a deportation order due to his expired visa.
Kristen Jackson, an attorney at Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, cleared her case schedule to work with Edozie. On June 28, 2006, she interviewed Edozie, who told her about his life on the streets with his mother, and his current situation staying with Faye Brim.
In a latter to USCIS on July 18, 2006, Jackson wrote: “Even if both Daniel and his mother were to remain in the United States, they would not be reunified. And deporting Daniel together with his mother would not serve his best interests, but instead would work a de facto reunification and provide an end-run around the very court assigned to protect children like Daniel from abuse, abandonment and neglect.”
Jackson wanted special immigrant juvenile status (SIJS) for Edozie, which she says was rare and difficult to accomplish for many juveniles.
“Daniel had a really strong case,” she says. “Legally it was really complicated. Because I have a lot of expertise in this, I thought if anyone could pull it off, I would be the person … The Immigration Service was very intent on removing him. When you have a train that is moving like that, it is really hard to put the brakes on.”
The case was successful; in September that year, Edozie was granted a special immigrant juvenile visa, a green card, and declared a legal permanent resident.
Organizations mentioned/involved: Public Counsel