Immigration and Child Welfare Laws and Policies
Culturally competent practice with immigrant families requires workers to understand families' immigration status and the laws and policies that affect their families. Workers also need to be aware of the many organizations that can play a role with families depending on their immigration status. In this section, find resources on recent Federal legislation, policies, and State and local examples of State immigration laws, including Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.
Federal Immigration and Nationality Law
United States Code Title 8, Chapter 12
Cornell University, Legal Information Institute
Compiles legislation enacted by Congress regarding immigration and naturalization law.
State Specific Resources
Migration and Child Welfare National Network
Provides sample policies, forms, Memoranda of Understanding with foreign consulates, and other resources developed by State child welfare agencies.
Note: To obtain the full text of any individual act listed below, see Information Gateway's Index of Federal Child Welfare Laws.
Child Citizenship Act of 2000: Public Law 106-395 [H.R. 2883]
U.S. Congress (2000) Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to confer U.S. citizenship automatically and retroactively to certain foreign-born children adopted by citizens of the United States.
Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996: Public Law 104-208 [H.R. 3610]
U.S. Congress (1996)
Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to improve border security and enforcement, enhance penalties for alien smuggling and document fraud, and revise procedures for removal of aliens. This act was enacted as Division C of the Omnibus Consolidation Appropriations Act.
Immigration Act of 1990: Public Law 101-649 [S. 358]
U.S. Congress (1990)
Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to change the level and preference system for admission of immigrants to the United States and to provide for administrative naturalization.
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996: Public Law 104-193 [H.R. 3734]
U.S. Congress (1996)
Provides, through Title IV of this act, that only aliens who have been admitted legally to the United States can be eligible for Federal public benefits.
Child Born Outside the United States and Residing Permanently in the United States; Requirements for Automatic Acquisition of Citizenship (PDF - 150 KB)
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 8, Part 320 (2012)
Describes the requirements for obtaining citizenship for an alien child brought to the United States to reside with or be adopted by parents who are U.S. citizens.
Child Born Outside the United States; Requirements for Application for Certificate of Citizenship (PDF - 153 KB)
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 8, Part 322 (2012)
Describes the process for a U.S. citizen parent to obtain a certificate of citizenship for his or her alien-born child, including an adopted child.
Special Immigrant Status for Certain Aliens Declared Dependent on a Juvenile Court (Special Immigrant Juvenile) (PDF - 147 KB)
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 8, § 204.11 (2012)
Provides guidance on the process for establishing an immigrant child's eligibility for an immigrant visa when the child has been placed in foster care and is declared dependent by a juvenile court.