The Foster Children Opportunity Act: Guaranteeing a Bright Future for Foster Youth
The Foster Children Opportunity Act (H.R. 2036) seeks to ensure that abused and neglected immigrant children have an opportunity to obtain the legal immigrant status to which they are entitled prior to aging out of the foster care system. Introduced by Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the bill amends Title IV of the Social Security Act in order to require states to screen all undocumented immigrant children currently in the child welfare system for eligibility for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS). SIJS allows undocumented children who are under 21 years old and unmarried to remain in the United States legally, as well as work and be eligible for financial aid and in-state tuition for college. After five years, they may also apply for U.S. citizenship.