Immigration and the State Courts Initiative Update

Dr. John Martin and Dr. Steven Weller from the Center for Public Policy Studies traveled to Savannah on May 31, 2012, to present an update of the Immigration and the State Courts Initiative to the Judicial Council of Georgia.  This initiative seeks to address the impact of immigration on state courts and provide technical assistance for addressing the challenges, as well as, align with other court and justice system reform and improvement efforts.

In January 2012, project staff met with a variety of justice system stakeholders from both state and local agencies, representing a range of knowledge and expertise in Georgia. In April 2012, the team met with representatives from Gwinnett County Juvenile Court to discuss the challenges faced within this metropolitan Atlanta court system. Following that, staff and CPPS representatives met with a representative of the regional office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Based on meetings with groups around the state, CPPS is proceeding with the following action items: 

  • Develop and present training on Federal immigration law for Georgia judges and other criminal justice system personnel.
  • Develop and present training for Juvenile Court judges and court administrative and clerical staff in Gwinnett County on the requirements for and barriers to Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status, T (human trafficking victim) visas, U (crime victim) visas, and naturalization, and on issues surrounding the need for advising juveniles in delinquency cases.
  • Assist justice system officials in Gwinnett County in developing best practices for identifying undocumented juveniles who might be eligible for SIJ status, T visas, and U visas.
  • Develop and present training, based on best practices, for court and related agency staff, including probation officers, DFCS caseworkers, SAAG attorneys, and Guardians ad Litem (GAL) on the requirements for SIJ status, T visas, and U visas.
  • Develop training to be presented by the Georgia AOC to the staff of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on understanding Georgia state criminal procedure and court records that may be presented by applicants for immigration benefits.
  • Develop and present training for Georgia judges and court administrative and clerical personnel on responding to requests for court records from USCIS.

Project staff continues to communicate with AOC staff and contacts to develop resources and glean needed information. More information on the initiative may be found at

For more information on the project, contact Erin Oakley, or 404-463-3820, or Tracy Mason, or 404-463-1665.


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Administrative Office of the Courts 244 Washington Street, SW Suite 300 Atlanta, GA  30334

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