The Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare and the MCWNN will be hosting a webinar entitled Understanding and Improving the Quality of Service Delivery for Immigrant Families Involved with the Child Welfare System on July 31, 2014 from 3:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. EDT. This webinar, which will feature presenters Alan Dettlaff, Lyn Morland, and Wendy Cervantes, will explore the challenges encountered by immigrant families involved with the child welfare system and will discuss strategies for addressing the needs of this population.
The Migration & Child Welfare National Network is a coalition of individuals and organizations focused on the intersection of immigration and child welfare
You may register for the webinar here.
Congress will likely make this week their last week before they leave for the August break and that will happen regardless of the unaccompanied minor issue. Going into this week there are three general proposals: the President’s, the Senate’s and the House’s. It seems certain that none of them can garner enough votes to get through both houses and to the President for his signature. The House proposal was changing even more as members were leaving for the weekend.
The President has requested $3.7 billion to be spread across HHS, the State Department and Homeland Security. He indicated some openness to amending a 2008 amendment to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) which allowed for greater deliberation for unaccompanied minors coming here (as long as they were not coming from Mexico or Canada).
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) immediately rejected the President’s request and assigned a working group of Republican House members to craft their own proposal. That proposal was unveiled on Wednesday, July 23, at a total of $1.5 billion and would designate much of the funding for border patrol, and the National Guard and direct quicker deportation of the children. It would also require spending cuts in other areas of the budget instead of designating the spending as an emergency. It was unclear however whether there are enough Republican votes to pass the proposal with some members of the House Republican caucus feeling the proposal was not tough enough. As a result a new proposal spending less than $1 billion was gaining support among Republican House members. It would likely change some current immigration law including a repeal of the 2008 changes to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). There could also be a separate attempt to overcome the President’s 2012 executive order that implemented parts of the “DREAM Act” legislation that extends legal protection to some youth brought here at a young age and now successfully attending school or enrolling in the military.
The Senate, acting through the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) proposed $2.7 billion in funding and it would not amend the 2008 changes to the TVPA. It would also seek to target funding for services through the end of the calendar year meaning it would cover parts of FY 2014 and 2015. It would be subject to a filibuster however and that means at least some Republican votes would be needed. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been working with House Republicans to work for a repeal of President Obama’s 2012 executive order that offered some protections to immigrant students who had been brought into the United States at a younger age (similar to the “Dream Act”). Although critics of the President had been arguing that 2012 order had caused the surge in immigrants, recent debate has now focused on the 2008 changes to the TVPA instead.
Congress is also confronted with several other pressing issues this week including an extension of highway funding, reaching a bipartisan reform on the Veterans Administration as well as overall appropriations. They could all be put off until September but that creates a long list for a Congress that will be desperate to leave for the 2014 election.
On Tuesday, July 22, there was a Senate briefing on S. 2570, the Tribal Adoption Parity Act. The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) is circulating a letter of support for the bill. This bill would ensure that families who adopt children designated as “special needs” in tribal court are eligible for the same flat adoption tax credit as families who adopt children who are designated as “special needs” in state courts.
Under current law, the adoptive parents of a child designated as special needs who is adopted through a tribal court cannot claim the flat special needs adoption credit and must document their qualified upfront expenses. Although tribes have the authority to arrange and sanction the adoptions of children who are members or eligible to be members of the tribe, current tax law does not recognize the authority of tribal courts to determine which of these adopted children are “special needs” for the purposes of the Adoption Tax Credit. In other words, a “special needs” determination provided by the tribe is not an acceptable document for the purposes of filing for the adoption tax credit as special needs. This creates a disparity in the tax law; taxpayers who adopt a child designated as special needs through a state can claim the benefit for children designated as special needs without documenting qualified expenses, while taxpayers who adopt a child designated as special needs through a tribe cannot.
NICWA is circulating a letter of support for sign-on. If you organization would like to sign-on, please send an e-mail to receive a copy of the letter for your review to Addie Smith at the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) at email@example.com by close of business next Monday, July 28.