The Child Status Protection Act was signed into law by President George W Bush in 2002.
The CSPA amended the Immigration Nationality Act (INA) by amending who qualifies to be a child for purposes of immigration. Under this legislation, some immigrants can remain classified as a child once they have reached the age of 21.
The Child Status Protection Act was intended to solve some complex issues found in the Immigration Nationality Act.
Up until 2002, naturalized or permanent residents in the United States faced some painful hurdles to petition their immigrant children’s status.
If their children were not residents, they would often face obstacles in joining their parents in the United States because of their ages.
The Purpose of the Child Status Protection Act
Before the Child Status Protection Act, immigrants who applied for residency as children ran the risk of “aging out” as soon as they turned 21. Legally, they were no longer classified as children at 21 and would have to apply again as adults, losing the benefit of their families’ residency status.
The Child Status Protection Act acts like a hold for a family’s petition for their child’s residency. The age of the children is held at the juncture that the application is submitted.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) points out Congress recognized large backlogs and long processing times for children’s visa petitions meant they were “aging out” of the process.
Under the CSPA, the “child” status is protected for family-based immigrants, employment-based immigrants, and some classifications of humanitarian program immigrants like refugees and asylum seekers.
The Child Status Protection Act is a very complicated piece of legislation. You can read more about it on here on our website.
We outline the alternative routes that can be used to bring children to the United States, namely:
- Parents file Form I-130 or Petition before their child’s 21st birthday. This means they can effectively “freeze” the child’s age when the petition is submitted and the child will not “age out” even if the bureaucratic process runs beyond their 21st birthday.
- When the parent naturalizes before the out-of-country beneficiary reaches his or her 21st birthday, the age of the child is “frozen” at the time of the naturalization. The Form I-130 petition can, therefore, be processed after the child has turned 21-years-old.
Petitioning for immigrant children is a complex area of immigration law. Although the Child Status Protection Act has made it easier, it makes sense to hire an experienced Texas immigration attorney. Please call us at (512) 474-4445.