KIND welcomes the introduction today of a bill that would help protect immigrant children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. The Working for Immigrant Safety and Empowerment (WISE) Act, led Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) would also help immigrants who are survivors of trafficking and gender-based violence.
“Instability and uncertainty are extremely harmful to children’s development,” said KIND President Wendy Young. “Current law, which needlessly caps visa availability for migrant children who survived parental abuse and abandonment, fuels such harmfulness by subjecting these children to prolonged legal limbo. The WISE Act will help ensure that these children can efficiently gain security and stability in the United States and fully integrate into and enrich their communities.”
The WISE Act lifts the arbitrary annual limits on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) visas, allowing children who have survived parental abuse, abandonment, or neglect to obtain security and stability in the United States. Many children who are granted SIJS must wait years in uncertain status before they are eligible to seek lasting protection. Additionally, the bill strengthens safeguards against unwarranted detention and deportation of child and adult survivors of domestic violence and abuse and expands confidentiality and privacy protections in the visa application process.
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