New State Laws Extend Guardianship, Aid For Immigrant Juveniles

New State Laws Extend Guardianship, Aid For Immigrant Juveniles

The state of Illinois has enacted two new laws aimed at protecting immigrant youth in Illinois.

According to a state of Illinois news release, House Bill 836 ensures that children are able to have short-term guardians if their parent is detained or deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The law allows a short-term guardianship to be extended an additional 365 days — double the current limit — so that an undocumented parent can entrust a guardian to make medical decisions and enroll a child in school, among other activities.

It also provides judicial discretion to consider granting guardianship of a minor when a parent can’t provide consent because they are unreachable due to an administrative separation.

House Bill 1553 makes it easier for undocumented youth to obtain visas by aligning state laws with existing federal laws, the news release said.

It authorizes adoption, family, juvenile and probate courts to proceed with and grant a petition for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, a visa specific to undocumented children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned.

“This is about ensuring the safety of some of the most vulnerable people in our state,” said Sen. Cristina Castro, (D-Elgin). “We have an obligation to protect children regardless of their immigration status, and this law will expedite that process.”