SIJ Success: Nina and Linda’s Story

sij nina and linda story

Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) visas are a lifeline for neglected undocumented immigrant children, and acquiring SIJ Status can mean the difference between remaining in the United States or being forcefully deported to devastating circumstances. As New York State faces one of the worst SIJS backlogs in the country, NY JFON recently celebrated two clients who received green cards after successfully qualifying for SIJS.

Nina and Linda, currently 14 and 16 years old, respectively, are of Chinese heritage and originally from Curaçao, a Caribbean island. The sisters immigrated to New York when they were four and two years old. Though young, they have faced immense hardships and currently live with their grandmother in Brooklyn. After being referred to NY JFON, Nina and Linda attended the clinic at the Chinese United Methodist Church in Chinatown, Manhattan. There, the girls were introduced to Senior Staff Attorney Samantha (Sam) Blecher, who specializes in SIJS cases. Sam has seen the negative impact of the SIJS backlog firsthand. She laments, “Because of the backlog, these already vulnerable children are left in limbo and unable to proceed with their dreams of making a brighter future for themselves.”

Sam has gone the extra mile as Nina’s and Linda’s attorney, having represented them in Brooklyn Family Court while assisting them with successfully applying for the SIJS visa. After receiving SIJ Status, Sam assisted the sisters with applying for a green card. Sam’s efforts on Nina’s and Linda’s behalf were rewarded on August 17, 2022, when Nina and Linda were officially granted green cards, which qualifies them to live and work permanently in the United States. A green card offers a direct path to applying for citizenship, which Sam will surely assist Nina and Linda with when the time comes.

sij nina and linda story
Nina (left) and Linda (right)

Nina and Linda praise Sam for being a “great” attorney and for helping them “live a better life.” Today, Nina is in 10th grade and Linda is in 11th grade. While Nina is still unsure what she wants to do after high school, Linda aspires to study Marketing in college. With Sam’s legal expertise and NY JFON volunteers’ dedication, Nina and Linda can continue their education and pursue their dreams without fear of deportation.


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