Legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine to provide undocumented foster youth with access to non-profit immigration legal assistance was approved by the California State Assembly. AB 1324 (Levine), sponsored by Children’s Law Center of California and Legal Services for Children would require California Department of Social Services to contract with nonprofit legal services organizations to provide immigration legal services to undocumented children in foster care, subject to funding in the State Budget. The measure was approved on a 53 to 10 vote.
The federal Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) was created to help abused and neglected undocumented children obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States, and in turn, provide greater stability for these young people that have experienced trauma. Currently, almost all undocumented children in foster care qualify for immigration relief but that relief is difficult to obtain without legal assistance.
“Every foster youth deserves our caring, love and support necessary to transition to adulthood,” said Assemblymember Levine. “My AB 1324 will ensure that undocumented dependents in California’s foster care system are provided with essential immigration legal services necessary to seek lawful residency in the United States. Unlike our current federal government, California will not abandon its undocumented youth and our moral obligation to help them achieve the American dream.”
AB 1324 now heads to the State Senate for further action.