Vera Institute of Justice Applauds California Governor Newsom’s Signing of the Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Protections Act

Today, Vera joined a coalition of children’s rights and immigration advocates to applaud California Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of the Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Protections Act last month. Introduced by California Assemblymember Robert Rivas, this law guarantees that unaccompanied immigrant children in federal immigration custody who are held in state-licensed facilities will have access to the California Foster Care Ombudsperson’s resources and advocacy and must be treated in accordance with California’s Foster Youth Bill of Rights.

With more immigrant children who arrived unaccompanied by a parent or guardian present in California than in any other state in the country, these children will now have the same protections and rights as any other child in California’s care.

Vera’s Unaccompanied Children’s Program in its Center on Immigration and Justice assisted with the bill’s drafting, and the law fulfills part of Vera’s effort to end the civil detention of immigrants by transforming the system of care, protection, and reunification of children in federal custody.

Shaina Aber, Deputy Director, Center on Immigration and Justice, Vera Institute of Justice:

“California has set a new standard in protecting the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children held in California-licensed foster and residential facilities while in federal custody. Thanks to this bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Rivas, immigrant children will be guaranteed the same protections and ability to address concerns as any other child in California-licensed care. Vera applauds Governor Newsom for signing into law a moral commitment to ensure all children receive the same treatment, protection, care and ability to vindicate their personal rights, regardless of who they are or where they come from.”

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