Levine Legislation to Ensure Undocumented Minors and Non Minor Dependents in Foster Care Receive Immigration Legal Services in California Passes State Legislature

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA)- Legislation by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D- Marin County) to ensure undocumented foster youth receive the immigration legal services they are entitled to passed the Legislature on Thursday last week. AB 829 (Levine) requires counties to make their best efforts to provide an undocumented minor or nonminor dependent in foster care with access to immigration legal services and continues to allow agencies incorporated out of state to be entity guardians. Last week, this measure was approved by the State Senate on a vote of 36 to 4 on Wednesday and the State Assembly concurred the Senate amendments on a vote of  73 to 0 on Thursday.  

AB 829 (Levine) builds on 2 prior bills authored  by Assemblymember Levine; AB 900 (Chapter 694 of  2015), which permits a guardian to be appointed to an undocumented youth by a court in connection with a petition regarding a federal Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) application, and AB 2642 (Chapter 103 of 2018), which allows agencies incorporated out of state to be entity guardians, a provision set to sunset January 1, 2022.

The Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) was created to help abused and neglected undocumented children gain lawful permanent residency in the United States, but is difficult to obtain without legal representation and support. SIJS serves as a primary route for undocumented foster children to gain lawful permanent immigration status in the United States, however; there is currently no statewide policy in place to ensure that undocumented foster youth receive the immigration legal resources they are entitled to before exiting foster care.

To address this issue, AB 829 requires that counties make their best efforts to provide undocumented minors or nonminor dependents in foster care under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court with access to legal immigration services and removes the sunset for AB 2642 (Chapter 103 of 2018).

“California cares about putting foster youth on the best track for success in adulthood. The most effective way for undocumented youth to achieve that reality is by obtaining permanent immigration status,” said Assemblymember Levine, “This legislation helps ensure undocumented foster youth receive the immigration legal representation they are entitled to under law.”

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Assemblymember Marc Levine represents California’s 10th Assembly District, which includes Marin and Sonoma counties.
Connect with Assemblymember Levine on social media: @AsmMarcLevine.