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HR 1904 IH

107th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 1904

To establish an Office of Children's Services within the Department of Justice to coordinate and implement Government actions involving unaccompanied alien children, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 17, 2001

Ms. LOFGREN (for herself and Mr. CANNON) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To establish an Office of Children's Services within the Department of Justice to coordinate and implement Government actions involving unaccompanied alien children, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; REFERENCES IN ACT; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the `Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act of 2001'.

    (b) REFERENCES IN ACT- Except as specifically provided in this Act, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed as an amendment to or repeal of a provision, the reference shall be deemed to be made to the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq.).

    (c) TABLE OF CONTENTS- The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

      Sec. 1. Short title; references in Act; table of contents.

      Sec. 2. Purposes.

      Sec. 3. Definitions.

TITLE I--STRUCTURAL CHANGES

      Sec. 101. Establishment of the Office of Children's Services.

      Sec. 102. Establishment of Interagency Task Force on Unaccompanied Alien Children.

      Sec. 103. Effective date.

TITLE II--PAROLE, CUSTODY, RELEASE, FAMILY REUNIFICATION, AND DETENTION

      Sec. 201. Parole and custody of unaccompanied alien children.

      Sec. 202. Family reunification for unaccompanied alien children with relatives in the United States.

      Sec. 203. Appropriate conditions for detention of unaccompanied alien children.

      Sec. 204. Repatriated unaccompanied alien children.

      Sec. 205. Establishing the age of an unaccompanied alien child.

      Sec. 206. Effective date.

TITLE III--ACCESS BY UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN TO GUARDIANS AD LITEM AND COUNSEL

      Sec. 301. Right of unaccompanied children to guardians ad litem.

      Sec. 302. Right of unaccompanied children to counsel.

      Sec. 303. Effective date.

TITLE IV--STRENGTHENING POLICIES FOR PERMANENT PROTECTION OF ALIEN CHILDREN

      Sec. 401. Special immigrant juvenile visa.

      Sec. 402. Training for officials who come into contact with alien children.

      Sec. 403. Child status protection.

      Sec. 404. Effective dates.

TITLE V--CHILDREN REFUGEE AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

      Sec. 501. Guidelines for Children's Asylum Claims.

      Sec. 502. Exceptions for unaccompanied alien children in asylum and refugee-like circumstances.

      Sec. 503. Unaccompanied refugee children.

TITLE VI--REPORTS TO CONGRESS

      Sec. 601. General Accounting Office report.

TITLE VII--AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS

      Sec. 701. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 2. PURPOSES.

    The purposes of this Act are to--

      (1) recognize the special needs and circumstances unaccompanied alien children encounter when navigating the immigration system of the United States;

      (2) establish new governmental structures to ensure that the United States Government meets the special needs of unaccompanied alien children;

      (3) ensure that United States Government authorities hold the best interests of the child paramount when making decisions regarding an unaccompanied alien child;

      (4) establish Government policy in favor of family reunification whenever possible and, when family reunification is not possible, placement of unaccompanied alien children in foster care with qualified, adult guardians or with voluntary agencies, rather than placing such children in detention;

      (5) provide minimum standards for custody of unaccompanied alien children;

      (6) ensure that unaccompanied alien children in immigration proceedings have appointed counsel and guardians ad litem, and that such counsel and guardians ad litem have access to the child;

      (7) ensure that children awaiting adjudication of their immigration status not `age-out' while awaiting processing by the Service of their petitions and applications; and

      (8) strengthen opportunities for permanent protection of such children for whom such protection is warranted.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- In this Act:

      (1) DIRECTOR- The term `Director' means the Director of the Office.

      (2) OFFICE- The term `Office' means the Office of Children's Services established by section 101.

      (3) SERVICE- The term `Service' means the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

      (4) UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILD- The term `unaccompanied alien child' means a child who--

        (A) has no lawful immigration status in the United States;

        (B) has not attained the age of 18; and

        (C) with respect to whom--

          (i) there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States; or

          (ii) no parent or legal guardian in the United States is available to provide care and physical custody.

      (5) VOLUNTARY AGENCY- The term `voluntary agency' means a private, nonprofit voluntary agency with expertise in meeting the legal, cultural, and psychological needs of unaccompanied alien children.

    (b) AMENDMENTS TO THE IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY ACT- Section 101(a) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

    `(50) The term `unaccompanied alien child' means a child who--

      `(A) has no lawful immigration status in the United States;

      `(B) has not attained the age of 18; and

      `(C) with respect to whom--

        `(i) there is no parent or legal guardian in the United States; or

        `(ii) no parent or legal guardian in the United States is able to provide care and physical custody.

    `(51) The term `unaccompanied refugee children' means persons described in paragraph (42) who--

      `(A) have not attained the age of 18; and

      `(B) with respect to whom there are no parents or legal guardians available to provide care and physical custody.'.

TITLE I--STRUCTURAL CHANGES

SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT-

      (1) IN GENERAL- There is established within the Department of Justice the Office of Children's Services. The Office shall not be an office within the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

      (2) COMPONENTS- The Office shall include such other components, staff, and resources as the Attorney General may determine necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.

    (b) RESPONSIBILITIES OF OFFICE- Under the general authority of the Attorney General, the Office shall be responsible for coordinating and implementing law and policy for unaccompanied alien children who come into the custody of the Department of Justice.

    (c) DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Office shall be headed by a Director of Children's Services, who shall be appointed by and report directly to the Attorney General.

      (2) COMPENSATION AT LEVEL IV OF EXECUTIVE SCHEDULE- Section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

    `Director of the Office of Children's Services, Department of Justice.'.

      (3) DUTIES- The Director shall be responsible for--

        (A) ensuring that the best interests of the child are held paramount in any immigration proceeding or action involving an unaccompanied alien child;

        (B) making custody, release, and detention determinations for all unaccompanied alien children apprehended by the Attorney General or who otherwise come into the custody of the Department of Justice (in consultation with juvenile justice professionals, where appropriate);

        (C) implementing the custody, release, and detention determinations made by the Office;

        (D) implementing, in consultation with the voluntary agencies, policies with respect to the care and detention of unaccompanied alien children;

        (E) chairing the Interagency Task Force on Unaccompanied Alien Children established in section 103;

        (F) identifying a sufficient number of qualified persons, entities, and facilities to house unaccompanied alien children in accordance with sections 202 and 203;

        (G) overseeing the persons, entities, and facilities described in sections 202 and 203 to ensure their compliance with such provisions;

        (H) compiling, updating, and publishing on a quarterly basis a State-by-State list of professionals or other entities qualified to contract with the Office to provide the services described in sections 301 and 302;

        (I) maintaining statistical information and other data on unaccompanied alien children in

the Office's custody and care, and reporting quarterly to the Judiciary Committees of the House of Representatives and Senate on such data, including with respect to each unaccompanied alien child--

          (i) biographical information such as the child's name, gender, date of birth, country of birth, and country of habitual residence;

          (ii) the date on which the child came into the custody of the Department of Justice;

          (iii) information relating to the child's placement, removal, or release from each facility in which the child has resided;

          (iv) in any case in which the child is placed in detention, an explanation relating to the detention; and

          (v) information relating to the disposition of any actions in which the child is the subject;

        (J) collecting and compiling statistical information from the Service, including Border Patrol and inspections officers, on the unaccompanied alien children with whom they come into contact; and

        (K) conducting investigations and inspections of facilities and other entities in which unaccompanied alien children reside.

      (4) DUTIES WITH RESPECT TO FOSTER CARE- In carrying out the duties described in paragraph (3)(F), the Director shall assess the extent to which the refugee children foster care system utilized pursuant to section 412(d)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act can feasibly be expanded for the placement of unaccompanied alien children.

      (5) POWERS- In carrying out the duties specified in paragraph (3), the Director shall have the power to--

        (A) contract with service providers to perform the services described in sections 202, 203, 301, and 302; and

        (B) compel compliance with the terms and conditions set forth in section 203, including the power to terminate the contracts of providers that are not in compliance with such conditions and reassign any unaccompanied alien

child to a similar facility that is in compliance with such section.

    (d) NO EFFECT ON INS, EOIR, AND DEPARTMENT OF STATE ADJUDICATORY RESPONSIBILITIES- Nothing in this Act may be construed to transfer the responsibility for adjudicating benefit determinations under the Immigration and Nationality Act from the authority of any official of the Service, the Executive Office of Immigration Review of the Department of Justice, or the Department of State.

SEC. 102. ESTABLISHMENT OF INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE ON UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is established an Interagency Task Force on Unaccompanied Alien Children.

    (b) COMPOSITION- The Task Force shall consist of the following members:

      (1) The Deputy Attorney General.

      (2) The Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization.

      (3) The Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration.

      (4) The Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement of the Department of Health and Human Services.

      (5) The Director.

      (6) Such other officials in the executive branch of Government as may be designated by the President.

    (c) CHAIRMAN- The Task Force shall be chaired by the Deputy Attorney General.

    (d) ACTIVITIES OF THE TASK FORCE- In consultation with nongovernmental organizations, the Task Force shall--

      (1) coordinate the implementation of this Act;

      (2) measure and evaluate the progress of the United States in treating unaccompanied alien children in United States custody; and

      (3) expand interagency procedures to collect and organize data, including significant research and resource information on the needs and treatment of unaccompanied alien children in the custody of the United States Government.

SEC. 103. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This title shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.

TITLE II--PAROLE, CUSTODY, RELEASE, FAMILY REUNIFICATION, AND DETENTION

SEC. 201. PAROLE AND CUSTODY OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN.

    (a) PAROLE OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN- Notwithstanding section 241(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, an unaccompanied alien child found in the United States shall, in accordance with sections 202 and 203 of this Act, be promptly paroled into the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons under section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

    (b) CUSTODY OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN-

      (1) ESTABLISHMENT OF JURISDICTION- The custody of all unaccompanied alien children, including responsibility for their detention, where appropriate, shall be under the jurisdiction of the Office.

      (2) NOTIFICATION- Upon apprehension of an unaccompanied alien child, the Attorney General shall promptly notify the Office.

      (3) PHYSICAL TRANSFER OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN- Not later than 72 hours after apprehension of an unaccompanied alien child, the physical custody of such child shall be transferred to the Office.

SEC. 202. FAMILY REUNIFICATION FOR UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN WITH RELATIVES IN THE UNITED STATES.

    (a) PLACEMENT AUTHORITY-

      (1) ORDER OF PREFERENCE- Subject to Attorney General's discretion under paragraph 4 and Sec. 203(a)(2), an unaccompanied alien child paroled into the United States under section 201(a) shall be promptly placed with one of the following individuals in the following order of preference:

        (A) A parent.

        (B) A legal guardian.

        (C) An adult relative.

        (D) An entity designated by the parent or legal guardian that is capable and willing to care for the child's well-being.

        (E) A State-licensed juvenile shelter, group home, or foster home willing to accept legal custody of the child.

        (F) An adult or entity seeking custody of the child when it appears that there is no other likely alternative to long-term detention and

family reunification does not appear to be a reasonable alternative.

      (2) HOME STUDY- Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1), no unaccompanied alien child shall be placed with a person or entity unless a valid home-study conducted by an agency of the State of the child's proposed residence, by an agency authorized by that State to conduct such a study, or by an appropriate voluntary agency contracted with the Office to conduct such studies has found that the person or entity is capable of providing for the child's physical and mental well-being.

      (3) RIGHT OF PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN TO CUSTODY OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILD- If an unaccompanied alien child is placed with any person or entity other than a parent or legal guardian, but subsequent to that placement a parent or legal guardian seeks to establish custody, the Director shall assess the suitability of placing the child with the parent or legal guardian and shall make a written determination on the child's placement within 30 days.

      (4) PROTECTION FROM SMUGGLERS- The Director shall take steps to ensure that unaccompanied alien children are protected from smugglers or others seeking to victimize or otherwise engage such children in criminal, harmful, or exploitative activity.

      (5) GRANTS AND CONTRACTS- The Director is authorized to make grants to, and enter into contracts with, voluntary agencies to carry out the provisions of this section.

      (6) REIMBURSEMENT OF STATE EXPENSES- The Director is authorized to reimburse States for any expenses they incur in providing assistance to unaccompanied alien children who are served pursuant to this Act.

    (b) CONFIDENTIALITY- All information relating to the immigration status of a person listed in subsection (a) shall remain confidential and may be used only for the purposes of determining such person's qualifications under subsection (a)(1).

SEC. 203. APPROPRIATE CONDITIONS FOR DETENTION OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN.

    (a) STANDARDS FOR PLACEMENT-

      (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), an unaccompanied alien child shall not be placed in an adult detention facility or a facility housing delinquent children.

      (2) An unaccompanied alien child who has exhibited a pattern of violent or serious criminal behavior that endangers himself or others may be detained in conditions appropriate to the behavior in a facility appropriate for delinquent children.

      (3) In the case of a placement of a child with an entity described in section 202(a)(1)(e), the entity must be licensed by an appropriate State agency to provide residential, group, child welfare, or foster care services for dependent children.

      (4) The conditions of such placements must be in keeping with the bests interests of the child. At a minimum, the Director shall develop standards for conditions of detention in such placements that provide for--

        (A) educational services appropriate to the child;

        (B) medical care;

        (C) mental health care, including treatment of trauma;

        (D) access to telephones;

        (E) access to legal services;

        (F) access to interpreters;

        (G) supervision by professionals trained in the care of children, taking into account the special cultural, linguistic, and experiential needs of children in immigration proceedings;

        (H) recreational programs and activities;

        (I) spiritual and religious needs; and

        (J) dietary needs.

    (b) PROHIBITION OF CERTAIN PRACTICES- The Director shall develop procedures prohibiting the unreasonable use of--

      (1) shackling, handcuffing, or other restraints on children;

      (2) solitary confinement; or

      (3) pat or strip searches.

    (c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this section shall be construed to supersede procedures favoring release of children to appropriate adults or entities or placement in the least secure setting possible, as defined in the August 12, 1996, Stipulated Settlement Agreement under Flores v. Reno. The Director shall ensure that such practices are in accordance with this section to ensure that children are promptly placed with appropriate parties or placed in appropriate shelter or foster care in keeping with the best interests of the child.

SEC. 204. REPATRIATED UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN.

    (a) ASSESSMENT BEFORE REPATRIATION- No unaccompanied alien child may be repatriated to a country unless an appropriate voluntary agency has conducted an assessment of the country conditions and the Office has conducted an assessment of the suitability of the placement of the child to ensure that the child can be repatriated in a manner deemed appropriate for the child's well being.

    (b) REPORT ON THE FATE OF REPATRIATED UNACCOMPANIED CHILDREN- Beginning not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Director shall submit a report to the Judiciary Committees of the House of Representatives and Senate on the treatment of unaccompanied alien children ordered removed from the United States under section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Such report shall include at a minimum the following information:

      (1) The number of alien children ordered removed and the number of alien children actually removed from the United States;

      (2) The type of immigration relief sought and denied to such alien children.

      (3) The nationalities, ages, and gender of such alien children.

      (4) The procedures used to effect the removal of alien children from the United States.

      (5) Steps taken to ensure that alien children removed to their countries of origin are returned safely and humanely.

SEC. 205. ESTABLISHING THE AGE OF AN UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILD.

    The Director shall develop procedures that permit the presentation and consideration of a variety of forms of evidence, including testimony of a child and other persons, to determine an unaccompanied alien child's age for purposes of placement, custody, parole, and detention. Such procedures shall allow the appeal of a determination to an immigration judge. Dental radiographs shall not be the sole means of determining age.

SEC. 206. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This title shall become effective 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act. The provisions of this title shall apply to all unaccompanied children in the custody of the Department of Justice on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

TITLE III--ACCESS BY UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN TO GUARDIANS AD LITEM AND COUNSEL

SEC. 301. RIGHT OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN TO GUARDIANS AD LITEM.

    (a) GUARDIAN AD LITEM-

      (1) APPOINTMENT- The Director shall appoint a guardian ad litem who meets the qualifications described in paragraph (2) for each unaccompanied alien child not later than 72 hours after the Office assumes physical or constructive custody of such child. The Director is encouraged, wherever practicable, to contract with a voluntary agency for the selection of an individual to be appointed as a guardian ad litem under this paragraph.

      (2) QUALIFICATIONS OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-

        (A) No person shall serve as a guardian ad litem who is not--

          (i) a child welfare professional or other individual who has received training in child welfare matters; and

          (ii) possessing of special training on the nature of problems encountered by unaccompanied alien children.

        (B) A guardian ad litem shall not be an employee of the Service.

      (3) DUTIES- The guardian ad litem shall--

        (A) conduct interviews with the child in a manner that is appropriate, taking into account the child's age;

        (B) investigate the facts and circumstances relevant to such child's presence in the United States, including facts and circumstances

arising in the country of the child's nationality or last habitual residence and facts and circumstances arising subsequent to the child's departure from such country;

        (C) develop recommendations on whether it is in the child's best interests to voluntarily depart from the United States or apply for relief from removal;

        (D) develop recommendations on issues relative to the child's custody, detention, and release;

        (E) ensure that the child's best interests are promoted while the child participates in, or is subject to, proceedings or actions under the Immigration and Nationality Act;

        (F) ensure that the child understands such determinations and proceedings; and

        (G) report findings and recommendations to the Director and to the Executive Office of Immigration Review.

      (4) TERMINATION OF APPOINTMENT- The guardian ad litem shall carry out the duties described in paragraph (3) until--

        (A) they are completed,

        (B) the child departs the United States,

        (C) the child is granted permanent resident status in the United States,

        (D) the child attains the age of 18, or

        (E) the child is placed in the custody of a parent or legal guardian,

      whichever occurs first.

      (5) POWERS- The guardian ad litem--

        (A) shall have reasonable access to the child at all times, including while such child is being held in detention or in the care of a foster family;

        (B) shall be permitted to review all records and information relating to such proceedings that are not deemed privileged or classified;

        (C) may seek independent evaluations of the child;

        (D) shall be present at all hearings involving the child that are held in connection with proceedings under the Immigration and Nationality Act; and

        (E) shall be permitted to consult with the child during any hearing or interview involving such child.

    (b) TRAINING- The Director shall provide professional training for all persons serving as guardians ad litem under this section in the circumstances and conditions that unaccompanied alien children face as well as in the various immigration benefits for which such a child might be eligible.

SEC. 302. RIGHT OF UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN TO COUNSEL.

    (a) ACCESS TO COUNSEL- The Director shall ensure that all unaccompanied alien children shall have counsel, including, if necessary, counsel appointed by the Director at the expense of the Government.

    (b) APPOINTMENT- In appointing such counsel, the Director is encouraged, wherever practicable, to contract with legal service providers with expertise in meeting the legal needs of unaccompanied alien children in immigration proceedings.

    (c) DUTIES- Counsel shall represent the unaccompanied alien child in all proceedings and actions relating to the child's immigration status or other actions involving the Service.

    (d) ACCESS TO CHILD- Counsel shall have access to the unaccompanied alien child, including while the child is being held in detention or in the care of a foster family.

    (e) TERMINATION OF APPOINTMENT- Counsel shall carry out the duties described in subsection (c) until--

      (1) they are completed,

      (2) the child departs the United States,

      (3) the child is granted withholding of removal under section 241(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,

      (4) the child is granted protection under the Convention Against Torture,

      (5) the child is granted asylum in the United States under section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act,

      (6) the child is granted permanent resident status in the United States, or

      (7) the child attains 18 years of age,

      whichever occurs first.

    (f) NOTICE TO COUNSEL DURING IMMIGRATION PROCEEDINGS-

      (1) Except when otherwise required in an emergency situation involving the physical safety of the child, counsel shall be given prompt and adequate notice of all immigration matters affecting or involving an unaccompanied alien child, including adjudications, proceedings, and processing, before such actions are taken.

      (2) An unaccompanied alien child may not give consent to any immigration action, including consenting to voluntary departure, unless first afforded an opportunity to consult with counsel.

    (g) ACCESS TO RECOMMENDATIONS OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM- Counsel shall be afforded an opportunity to review the recommendation by the guardian ad litem affecting or involving a client who is an unaccompanied alien child.

SEC. 303. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This title shall become effective 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act. The provisions of this title shall apply to all unaccompanied children in the custody of the Department of Justice on, before, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

TITLE IV--STRENGTHENING POLICIES FOR PERMANENT PROTECTION OF ALIEN CHILDREN

SEC. 401. SPECIAL IMMIGRANT JUVENILE VISA.

    (a) J VISA- Section 101(a)(27)(J) (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(27)(J)) is amended to read as follows:

      `(J) an immigrant who is present in the United States--

        `(i) who has been declared dependent on a juvenile court located in the United States or whom such a court has legally committed to, or placed under the custody of, a department or agency of a State, or an individual or entity appointed by a State, and who has been deemed eligible by that court for long-term foster care due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment, or a similar basis found under State law;

        `(ii) for whom it has been determined in administrative or judicial proceedings that it would not be in the alien's best interest to be returned to the alien's or parent's previous country of nationality or country of last habitual residence; and

        `(iii) for whom the Office of Children's Services of the Department of Justice has certified to the Commissioner that the classification of an alien as a special immigrant under this subparagraph has not been made solely to provide an immigration benefit to that alien;

      except that no natural parent or prior adoptive parent of any alien provided special immigrant status under this subparagraph shall thereafter, by virtue of such parentage, be accorded any right, privilege, or status under this Act;'.

    (b) ADJUSTMENT OF STATUS- Section 245(h)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1255(h)(2)) is amended--

      (1) by amending subparagraph (A) to read as follows:

        `(A) paragraphs (1), (4), (5), (6), and (7)(A) of section 212(a) shall not apply,';

      (2) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period and inserting `, and'; and

      (3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

        `(C) the Attorney General may waive paragraphs (2)(A) and (2)(B) in the case of an offense which arose as a consequence of the child being unaccompanied.'.

    (c) TRANSITION RULE-

      (1) IN GENERAL- An alien described in paragraph (2) who files an application under section 101(a)(27)(J), as amended by subsection (a), before the end of the period described in paragraph (3) shall not be denied such visa solely on the basis of the alien's age and state of emancipation at the time of final adjudication of the application.

      (2) CRITERIA FOR TRANSITIONAL ELIGIBILITY- Paragraph (1) shall apply to an alien who, on or after November 29, 1990, was under the jurisdiction of State-licensed foster care and who--

        (A) was a dependent of a juvenile court or other court of competent jurisdiction on or after such date;

        (B) was emancipated from such State foster care system on or before the date of enactment of this Act; and

        (C) with respect to whom no application for a visa under section 101(a)(27)(J) of the Immigration and Nationality Act was filed prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

      (3) PERIOD OF APPLICABILITY- No alien may apply for relief under this section later than three years after the effective date of this title or two years after the promulgation of any regulation implementing this title, whichever is later.

SEC. 402. TRAINING FOR OFFICIALS WHO COME INTO CONTACT WITH UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN.

    The Attorney General, acting jointly with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall provide training for State and county officials, such training to be available to child welfare specialists, teachers, public counsel, juvenile counsel, and juvenile judges who come into contact with unaccompanied alien children. The training shall provide education on the processes pertaining to unaccompanied alien children with pending immigration status and the available relief. The Director shall be responsible for establishing a core curriculum that can be incorporated into currently existing education, training, or orientation modules or formats that are currently used by these professionals.

SEC. 403. CHILD STATUS PROTECTION.

    (a) IMMIGRANT VISA ISSUANCE FOR CHILDREN WHO AGE-OUT WHILE AWAITING PROCESSING OF IMMEDIATE RELATIVE PETITIONS- Section 201(b)(2)(A) (8 U.S.C. 1151(b)(2)(A)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

      `(iii) In the case of an alien who is an unmarried child of a citizen of the United States on,

before, or after the date of enactment of this clause and who attains the age of 21 after the date on which a petition is filed with the Attorney General under section 204 to classify the alien as an immediate relative under this clause, such alien shall, for the purposes of this subsection, retain the legal status of child as defined in section 101(b)(2) of this Act, for the purposes of entitlement to obtaining an immigrant visa.

      `(iv) In the case of an alien who was a child of a parent lawfully admitted for permanent residence on the date on which a petition was filed with the Attorney General under section 204 to classify the alien as an immigrant under subsection 203(a)(2)(A) and whose parent subsequently became a naturalized citizen of the United States, such alien shall, for the purposes of this subsection, retain the legal status of child as defined in section 101(b)(2) of this Act, for the purposes of entitlement to obtaining an immigrant visa, if the alien remains unmarried.

      `(v) In the case of an alien who was the married son or daughter of a United States citizen on the date on which a petition was filed with the Attorney General under section 204 to classify the alien as an immigrant under subsection 203(a)(3), who subsequently becomes unmarried, and who was under 21 years of age on the date of the legal termination of the alien's marriage, such alien shall retain the legal status of child as defined in section 101(b)(2) of this Act, for the purposes of entitlement to obtaining an immigrant visa, if the alien remains unmarried.'.

    (c) IMMIGRANT VISA ISSUANCE FOR CHILDREN WHO AGE-OUT WHILE AWAITING PROCESSING OF SECOND PREFERENCE PETITIONS- Section 203(a)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1153(a)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

        `(C) A child of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence for whom a family-sponsored immigrant petition has been approved by the Attorney General and who has filed an application for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status, pursuant to such regulations as the Attorney General may prescribe before attaining the age of 21, may retain the legal status of a child, as defined in section 101(b)(1) of this Act, for purposes of allocation of visas, even if he or she attains the age of 21 prior to obtaining an immigrant visa or adjustment of status, if the alien remains unmarried.'.

    (d) IMMIGRANT VISA ISSUANCE FOR CHILDREN WHO AGE-OUT WHILE AWAITING PROCESSING OF OTHER FAMILY-BASED PREFERENCE, EMPLOYMENT, AND DIVERSITY PETITIONS- Section 203(d) (8 U.S.C. 1153(d)) is amended to read as follows:

    `(d) TREATMENT OF FAMILY MEMBERS-

      `(1) A spouse or child as defined in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), (D), or (E) of section 101(b)(1) shall, if not otherwise entitled to immigrant status and the immediate issuance of a visa under subsection (a), (b), or (c), be entitled to the same status, and the same order of consideration provided in the respective subsection, if accompanying or following to join, the spouse or parent.

      `(2) A child who is accompanying or following to join his or her parent under this section may retain the legal status of child as defined in section 101(b)(2) of this Act, for purposes of entitlement to the same immigrant status of his or her parent, even if he or she attains the age of 21 prior to obtaining an immigrant visa or adjustment of status if--

        `(A) the child remains unmarried; and,

        `(B) the immigrant visa application filed on behalf of the child is filed prior to the child's 21st birthday.'.

    (e)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien child who is accompanying or following to join his or her parent under any of the provisions of law specified in paragraph (2) may retain the legal status of child, as defined in section 101(b)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, for purposes of entitlement to the same status of his or her parent, even if he or she attains the age of 21 prior to obtaining approval for status if--

      (A) the child remains unmarried; and

      (B) the application for such status was filed on behalf of the child prior to the child's 21st birthday.

    (2) The provisions of law specified in this paragraph are the following:

      (A) Section 101(a)(27)(J) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

      (B) Section 208 of such Act.

      (C) The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (as contained in Public Law 105-100; 8 U.S.C. 1255 note).

      (D) The Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act of 1998 (as added by section 101(h) of division A of Public Law 105-277; 8 U.S.C. 1255 note).

SEC. 404. EFFECTIVE DATES.

    (a) The amendment made by section 401 shall apply to all eligible children who were in the United States before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

    (b) The amendments made by section 403 shall apply to all applications and petitions filed before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

TITLE V--CHILDREN REFUGEE AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

SEC. 501. GUIDELINES FOR CHILDREN'S ASYLUM CLAIMS.

    (a) SENSE OF CONGRESS- Congress commends the Service for its issuance of its `Guidelines for Children's Asylum Claims', dated December 1998, and encourages and supports the Service's implementation of such guidelines in an effort to facilitate the handling of children's asylum claims. Congress calls upon the Executive Office for Immigration Review of the Department of Justice to adopt the `Guidelines for Children's Asylum Claims' in its handling of children's asylum claims before immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals.

    (b) TRAINING- The Attorney General shall provide at least annually comprehensive training under the

`Guidelines for Children's Asylum Claims' to asylum officers, immigration judges, members of the Board of Immigration Appeals, and immigration officers who have contact with children in order to familiarize and sensitize such officers to the needs of children asylum seekers. Voluntary agencies shall be allowed to assist in such training.

SEC. 502. EXCEPTIONS FOR UNACCOMPANIED ALIEN CHILDREN IN ASYLUM AND REFUGEE-LIKE CIRCUMSTANCES.

    (a) EXCEPTION FROM EXPEDITED REMOVAL- Section 235(b)(1)(F) (8 U.S.C. 1225(b)(1)(F)) is amended by striking `an alien' and inserting `unaccompanied alien child or an alien'.

    (b) EXCEPTION FROM TIME LIMIT FOR FILING ASYLUM APPLICATION- Section 208(a)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1158(a)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

        `(E) Subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall not apply to an unaccompanied alien child.'.

SEC. 503. UNACCOMPANIED REFUGEE CHILDREN.

    (a) IDENTIFYING UNACCOMPANIED REFUGEE CHILDREN- Section 207(e) (8 U.S.C. 1157(e)) is amended--

      (1) by redesignating paragraphs (3) through (7) as paragraphs (4) through (8); and

      (2) by inserting after paragraph (2) the following new paragraph:

      `(3) An analysis of the worldwide situation faced by unaccompanied refugee children, by region. Such analysis shall include an assessment of--

        `(A) the number of unaccompanied refugee children, by region;

        `(B) the capacity of the Department of State to identify such refugees;

        `(C) the capacity of the international community to care for and protect such refugees;

        `(D) the capacity of the voluntary agency community to resettle such refugees in the United States;

        `(E) the degree to which the United States plans to resettle such refugees in the United States in the coming fiscal year; and

        `(F) the fate that will befall such unaccompanied refugee children for whom resettlement in the United States is not possible.'.

    (b) TRAINING ON THE NEEDS OF UNACCOMPANIED REFUGEE CHILDREN- Section 207(f)(2) (8 U.S.C. 1157(f)(2)) is amended by--

      (1) striking `and' after `countries,'; and

      (2) inserting before the period at the end the following: `, and instruction on the needs of unaccompanied refugee children'.

TITLE VI--REPORTS TO CONGRESS

SEC. 601. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE REPORT.

    Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit a report to the Judiciary Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives concerning the implementation of this Act. Such report shall assess the effectiveness of the Office in meeting the purposes of the Act, and shall specifically include--

      (1) the elements described in the report found in section 101(c)(3)(I);

      (2) the elements of the report described in section 204; and

      (3) the analysis described in section 207(e)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as added by section 503(a)(2) of this Act.

TITLE VII--AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS

SEC. 701. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    (a) IN GENERAL- There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act.

    (b) AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS- Amounts appropriated pursuant to subsection (a) are authorized to remain available until expended.

END


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