From The Queens Gazette: By John Toscano
A bill that would require the city Administration for Children’s Services to create a plan to protect immigrant children in foster care and perhaps put them on the path to permanent status in the U.S. was passed by the City Council last week.
The bill, introduced by Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D–Jackson Heights), seeks to ensure that immigrant children who are eligible for Special Immigration Juvenile Status (SIJS) are identified as quickly as possible and are receiving all the appropriate benefits, Dromm who chairs the Immigration Committee, said.
Qualifying for SIJS, Dromm added, would enable undocumented children to apply for this status, become permanent residents and obtain a green card.
“Immigrant children deserve the same rights as everyone,” Dromm stated. “This bill will help children in ACS supervision get access to the immigration services they need. We must ensure that children who qualify are given the opportunities they deserve, including the ability to be put on a path towards citizenship.”
Dromm added that he was “proud to move this important bill which protects the rights of immigrant children in foster care”.
Without a dedicated plan for immigrant services, Dromm explained, once a young person turns 21, he or she become ineligible for SIJS status and also loses the opportunity to take full advantage of various services available to lawful U.S. residents.
Dromm, whose district is one of the most diverse in the city, pointed out that his legislation would result in an accurate and efficient identification and tracking system in order to coordinate immigration services that would most fully protect the rights of immigrant children.