University of Miami Race & Social Justice Law Review

Document Type



Florida is one of fifteen jurisdictions in the United States that have enacted a direct file statute that grants prosecutors the ability to transfer juveniles from the juvenile justice system to adult court. Critiques of the direct file statute have focused on its effectiveness on deterrence and recidivism, its arbitrariness in application, and the tension with the role of juvenile justice in reforming rather than punishing youth. This Note explores the harmful consequences of the direct file statute on non-citizen youth in immigration proceedings and the probability of obtaining immigration relief. An adult conviction as opposed to a juvenile delinquency adjudication is grounds for immigration proceedings and also bars to relief such as Special Immigration Juveniles Status. Additionally, the greater cooperation between local law enforcement in adult jail systems and Immigration Customs Enforcement increases the likelihood that juveniles with adult convictions will face immigration proceedings as a result of their immigration status.