To provide comprehensive and beneficial services to immigrant families, child welfare professionals need to understand relevant laws and policies and how they affect the families with whom they work. In this section, find resources on recent Federal legislation and policies as well as State and local examples of immigration laws, including Special Immigrant Juvenile status.
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)
Documents the requirements for obtaining citizenship for a foreign national 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 foreign national child, including an adopted child.
Child Migrants and Family Separation
National Conference of State Legislatures
Summarizes Federal and State responses to families seeking to enter the United States along its southern border.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals: Federal Policy and Examples of State Actions
National Conference of State Legislatures (2018)
Summarizes changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation of 2012 that have occurred in the last 3 years.
Policies and Procedures Involving Detained Parents and Legal Guardians (PDF - 282 KB)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2018)
Presents the policies and procedures when detaining parents and legal guardians of children, including placement, parent-child visits, coordinating the care or travel of the child, call center information, and more. The factsheet is also available in Spanish (PDF - 141 KB).
Policy Number 11064.2: Detention and Removal of Alien Parents or Legal Guardians (PDF - 963 KB)
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (2017)
Provides guidance on the detention and removal of foreign national or undocumented parents or legal guardians of children involved in family court or child welfare proceedings, including information on coordinating children's care or travel, visitation requirements, and more.
Public Benefits & Immigrant Families Resource List
Center on Immigration and Child Welfare (2019)
Presents a list of resources about the public charge rule, proposed changes to the policy, and how it effects immigrants in the United States.
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.
Immigrant Families and Child Welfare Systems: Emerging Needs and Promising Policies
Greenberg, Capps, Kalweit, Grishkin, & Flagg (2019)
Migration Policy Institute
Examines specialized policy approaches designed to effectively engage and work with immigrant families from 14 States, 6 counties, and New York City.
Services to Children and Families Who Are Not U.S. Citizens
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (2017)
In Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Handbook
Presents policy and procedure for Texas caseworkers working with noncitizen children.