TRENTON - New Jersey's top court says immigrant children who fled abuse and abandonment in their home countries only need to show that one parent mistreated them in order for authorities to consider granting them legal residency.

Experts say Wednesday's state Supreme Court ruling is likely to help at least 500 children facing deportation in New Jersey.

The unanimous ruling overturns lower court decisions in two cases that said children had to show they had been mistreated by both parents in order for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to consider giving special immigrant juvenile status.

Randi Mandelbaum, director of the Child Advocacy Clinic at Rutgers Law School in Newark, tells the "huge" decision will protect immigrant children in New Jersey.