California recently enacted ten new laws to ensure liberty and access to justice for immigrants in our state. Two of those laws impact immigrant youth in particular:
AB 899 is a new law that clarifies that California law does not permit the automatic sharing of confidential information from juvenile court proceedings with any federal official, including immigration officials. Specifically, it makes clear that it is unlawful for local and state entities to share information with immigration officials, unless immigration officials file a petition in court requesting disclosure of the minor’s information and the court determines that sharing the information is appropriate, taking into account the best interests of the minor. The law took effect January 1, 2016.
AB 900 is a new California law that will provide better support and protection for unaccompanied, undocumented youth between the ages of 18 and 20 in California by: 1) giving probate courts jurisdiction to appoint legal guardians for youth ages 18-20 in order to assist youth in adjusting to a new culture and social structure, and 2) aligning state law with federal law to allow these youth to access Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. The law took effect on January 1, 2016.