KIDS Act: One step in the “step by step” approach to immigration reform | Charleston Immigration Lawyers

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (both of Virginia) recently proposed a new bill, tentatively titled the KIDS Act, which aims to allow new options for undocumented children who entered this country illegally. Cantor and Goodlatte both see it as a necessary step in the “step-by-step approach the House is taking to address immigration reform.”

The proposed KIDS Act is similar to the DREAM Act in that its intention is to provide young undocumented citizens an opportunity to gain legal status, while allowing them to live and work without the fear of deportation. However, the Act has already acquired numerous critics due to the selective protection it offers. Because only children (and not their parents) would be eligible for relief, critics claim that the KIDS Act will effectually force a division between family members. Another point of contention is that the Act does not necessarily guarantee full citizenship; it merely offers a way for these undocumented children to maintain a legal status.

Chairman Goodlatte, in a statement released on July 23, stated that the goal of this newly proposed legislation is to assist “illegal immigrants who are already here and who were brought here as young children by their parents through no fault of their own,” but he believes that offering the same opportunity to parents who consciously chose to enter the United States illegally would only encourage illegal entry while promoting the dangers associated with crossing the border.

The issue of “Immigration Status of Illegal Immigrants Brought to the United States as Children” came in front of the House Judiciary Committee last week, at which time Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) expressed concerns that drafting and introduction of the bill does not seem to be bipartisan in nature, citing a “sharp departure from the history of the DREAM Act.”

You can read Chairman Goodlatte’s full statement from July 23 by clicking here, or read additional statements from last week’s hearing by clicking here. If you would like more information on recent changes to immigration law or how those changes may affect you, contact Miller|Conway, Charleston Immigration Lawyers at 843.764.3334. to set up a consultation. You may also like us on facebook, follow us on twitter, or visit the firm’s website for bios on our attorneys and other areas of practice.