Senate Bill 1064
This website was created pursuant to Senate Bill (SB) 1064, Chapter 845, Statutes of 2013. SB 1064 is also commonly referred to as “The Reuniting Immigrant Families Act.” The purpose of this new state law is to eliminate or reduce family reunification barriers for immigrant families by creating uniformity across state and county policies and practices.
SB 1064 created new requirements for the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). Welfare and Institutions Code (W&IC) sections 10609.95 and 10609.97 were added to statute to require CDSS to provide guidance on best practices, and to facilitate an exchange of information and best practices among counties on an annual basis, regarding the following topics:
- Establishing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with foreign consulates for juvenile court cases in which a parent has been arrested and issued an immigration hold, or has been detained or deported
- Assisting a child who is eligible to apply for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS)
- Applying for T visas, U visas, and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions
As background information, the SIJS program is an important part of immigration law. It applies to children/youth who are under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court and cannot be reunified with one or both parents due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. A child/youth who obtains lawful permanent residency (i.e., a green card) through the SIJS program can live and work permanently in the United States. The child/youth may also eventually apply to become a U.S. citizen.
The T visa is for noncitizens who have been the victims of severe forms of human trafficking, while the U visa is for noncitizens who are victims of serious crimes and who can be helpful in the investigation or prosecution of those crimes. The VAWA is a form of immigration relief that permits certain abused family members of citizens or permanent residents to self-petition for a green card without the cooperation of the abuser.
New SB 1064 Requirements for an MOU between a County and a Foreign Consulate
SB 1064 does not require counties to enter into a MOU with a foreign consulate pertaining to juvenile court cases in which a parent has been arrested and issued an immigration hold, has been detained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or has been deported to his or her country of origin. However, a county that chooses to enter into an MOU with a foreign consulate must meet the new requirements enacted by SB 1064.
As specified in W&IC section 10609.95(b), a MOU with a foreign consulate must include, but not be limited to, procedures for the following:
- Contacting a foreign consulate at the onset of a juvenile court case
- Accessing documentation for the child
- Locating a detained parent
- Facilitating family reunification once a parent has been deported to his or her country of origin
- Aiding the safe transfer of a child to the parent’s country of origin
- Communicating with relevant departments and services in the parent’s country of origin, including, when appropriate, allowing reports from the foreign child welfare authorities documenting the parent’s living situation and the parent’s participation in service plans in the country of origin that are in compliance with the case plan requirements
Counties that have an existing MOU with a foreign consulate may want to review the MOU for consistency with these provisions.
Child Welfare Latino Practice Advisory Council (LPAC)
The requirements of SB 1064 dovetailed with efforts to better serve the needs of Latino children and families through a time-limited advisory group, the Child Welfare Latino Practice Advisory Committee. The LPAC is a collaboration of the CDSS and the County Welfare Directors Association. As part of its charge, the LPAC developed a website to collect information and resources for child welfare agencies regarding Latino children and families, including research, policy and legal issues, promising practices, and strategies for organizational improvement. While the LPAC website specifically focuses on Latino families, it contains information on state and federal immigration issues that are relevant to all children and families, regardless of the country of origin.
- LPAC Website
The entire LPAC website includes many articles and other resources on the intersection of child welfare and policy. The LPAC links that are highlighted below pertain most directly to SB 1064.
- Legal / State Policy / Legislation
This link contains a copy of SB 1064 and a case study and webinar on SB 1064.
- Legal / Federal Policy / Legislation
This link contains the full text of the Parental Interest Directive—Facilitating Parental Interests in the Course of Civil Immigration Enforcement Activities—issued by ICE in August 2013, as well as several related fact sheets and articles.
Examples of MOUs and notifications to foreign consulates—and additional information that may be useful to counties in, among other things, preparing an MOU to a foreign consulate—can be accessed through the following LPAC links:
- MOUs & Notification to Foreign Consulates
- Placement, Reunification, or Adoption with Foreign Parents/Relatives
- Placement of Children with Undocumented Relatives
- Communication between Children & Foreign Parents
- Language Access
- PRUCOL (Permanent Residence Under Color of Law)
- Combined Policy Documents
- Legal / Immigration Relief Options
Fact sheets on immigration relief options for undocumented immigrants, including SIJS, the T and U visas and VAWA, can be accessed here. This link also includes various resources on SIJS.
- Policy / Immigration Relief Options
Samples of county and state procedural guides pertaining to immigration relief options, including SIJS and the U Visa, are available here.
- Practice / Practice Strategies with Immigrant Families
Links to “A Social Worker’s Tool Kit for Working with Immigrant Families” and other relevant resources are listed.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- USCIS Website
The USCIS is the government agency that oversees and grants SIJS, T and U visas, and relief under VAWA. The links below provide access to program descriptions, application instructions, and forms for the various immigration relief programs:
- Special Immigrant Juveniles (SIJ) Status
Information on eligibility requirements for SIJ status, green cards based on SIJ status, application instructions and forms, and history of the SIJ status is provided.
- Victims of Human Trafficking: T Nonimmigrant Status
Information on eligibility requirements for the T visa, application instructions and forms, filing for qualifying family members, resources, and questions and answers are provided.
- Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status
Information on eligibility requirements for the U visa, qualifying criminal activities, petitioning for the U visa and forms, filing for qualifying family members, resources, and questions and answers are provided.
- Battered Spouse, Children & Parents
Information on eligibility requirements and forms for filing a petition under VAWA is provided.
- Questions and Answers: Battered Spouses, Children and Parents Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Responses to commonly asked questions about VAWA eligibility are given.
- Fact Sheet: USCIS Issues Guidance for Approved Violence Against Women (VAWA) Self-Petitioners
This fact sheet provides clarification of some VAWA application procedures.
- U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Online Detainee Locator System
The Online Detainee Locator System is a public system that can be used to locate immigration detainees who are in ICE detention. For an explanation of the system, please see the brochure How Do I Locate Someone in Immigration Detention? Online Detainee Locator System
Asista centralizes assistance for advocates and attorneys helping immigrant survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Its clearinghouse offers best practices and other information in these areas. Topics covered include VAWA and the T and U visas.
- Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS)
This website provides national technical assistance on serving refugee and immigrant children. See the Child Welfare web page. Resources include tips for interviewing recently arrived refugee and immigrant children for child abuse, education, health, etc.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: Immigration
This website provides resources to help child welfare professionals understand immigration issues and work with immigrant families.
- Immigrant Children’s Legal Program
Formerly the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, this website has a resource library on legal topics affecting immigrant children and youth.
- Immigration Legal Resource Center (ILRC)
A national, nonprofit resource center that focuses on immigrant rights, ILRC has resources on a wide variety of immigration-related topics, including relief options. Resources include the brochure Living in the United States: A Guide for Youth (English, Spanish and Korean) and the Immigration Benchbook for Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
- International Social Service, USA (ISS-USA)
ISS-USA seeks to connect vulnerable children, adults, and families separated by international borders to the services they need. It provides intercountry social services, research, training, technical assistance, and advocacy.
- Mexican Embassies and Consulates in the United States (and Canada)
This website provides a listing of Mexican embassies in the United States and Canada.
- U.S. Embassies, Consulates and Diplomatic Missons
This website has an international listing of embassies and consulates, which can sometimes provide pertinent documentation in child welfare cases.