The ABC's Of Immigration - New Child Age Out Legislation
Editor's Note: This article was written on July 26, 2002, President Bush has now signed the legislation discussed in this article into law. - August 9, 2002.
The US House of Representatives passed unanimously the Child Status Protection Act and President Bush is expected to sign the bill in the next few days. The bill addresses the problem of "aging out" where children lose their immigration benefits because they turn 21 before they complete the processing of their green cards. H.R. 1209 was co-sponsored by Immigration Subcommittee Chairman George Gekas (R-PA) and ranking minority member Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX). The fact that the top ranking Republican and Democrat on the committee sponsored the bill significantly boosted chances of passage particularly since Congressman Gekas is normally viewed as being very strict on immigration.
The House passed a similar measure last year. When the measure was taken up in the Senate, several provisions expanding the bill were added and it was this revised version that passed the House this week. The bill will have a profound impact on the cases of thousands of people every year. There are a number of important changes provided for in the legislation.
There is also finally a fix of a rather absurd problem that has affected Filipino cases for years. Congressman James Sensenbrenner aptly described the problem and the new solution to the US House of Representatives:
"When a permanent resident naturalizes who has sponsored adult sons and daughters for preferential visas, they move from the second preference B category to the first preference category. Normally, the wait for a first preference visa is much shorter than the wait for second preference B visa. However, currently this is not the case for sons and daughters of immigrants from the Philippines. For complicated factors, the line actually gets longer for sons and daughters when the parent naturalizes. Immigrants are in effect being penalized for becoming citizens, and we don't want that. The Senate amendment provides a simple fix by allowing an adult son or daughter to decline to be transferred from the second preference B category to the first preference category when a parent naturalizes."
To request to opt out of the automatic conversion, the child must furnish the INS with a written statement that he or she elects not to have such a conversion occur or to have the conversion revoked if it has already happened.
The new law will become effective as soon as the President signs the bill. President Bush is not expected to oppose the measure so this should be within the next few days at the latest. The law will apply to all new cases as well as all cases filed before the date the President signs the bill as long as a final determination on an adjustment of status or immigrant visa application has not been made. This could mean that many people who never applied will have the opportunity as long as they meet the one year test described above.
About The Authors
Gregory Siskind is a partner in Siskind, Susser, Haas & Devine's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Ballentine is an associate in Siskind, Susser & Haas's Memphis, Tennessee office. She graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Rhodes College in 1994. While in law school at the University of Memphis she was a member of the law review staff as well as a published author. She also worked with the local public defenderís office in death penalty cases. In May 1999, she graduated Cum Laude from the University of Memphis Law School. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. She can be reached by email at email@example.com
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.