ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) – A Rochester woman is advocating for immigration policy reform after trying to legally adopt her foster son for three years.
The woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, can’t legally adopt him because he’s an undocumented immigrant. He does have special immigration juvenile status (SIJIS) for children who were rescued from abuse or neglect. However, without a visa, he can’t legally work or drive a car and he’s about to graduate high school.
This is because of cuts by the Trump Administration to some E4 employment visas from certain countries. One of these countries is Guatemala, where the boy is from.
The boy came to Minnesota with his mother a few years ago. But the relationship was abusive and child protective services took him out of that situation, placing him with this foster family. The birth mother was since deported. The boy has been with the foster mother for the past three years, and she’s hoping for a policy change that will get children in this situation temporary visas.
“My husband and I have met with congressmen, and senators and we’ve reached out to everyone we can think of, and because the policy is clear, there is no work around – aside from a policy change,” said the foster mother. “And we believe because there’s so few of these kids – that nobody even realizes that there’s a problem and nobody is bringing light to this issue. And so we just really want someone to pay attention.”
She says despite all the lawmakers she’s spoken with agreeing change needs to be made, no action has been taken.