Mr. O'ROURKE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be introducing the Foster Children Opportunity Act today. This legislation will ensure that abused and neglected immigrant children have an opportunity to succeed in our country. It is supported by over 175 child welfare organizations.
As we debate immigration reform, it is critical that we consider the needs of immigrant children involved in the child welfare system. This is a population that is especially vulnerable and frequently overlooked.
Despite being eligible for special forms of immigration relief, foster children are slipping through the cracks and leaving care without a resolution of their immigration issues. As a result, they cannot work legally in the U.S. and face the threat of deportation back to a country they don't know, one where their abuser may still live.
We owe these children better. My bill will make sure immigrant foster youth are assisted with resolving their immigration issues prior to leaving care and guarantees that they have access to programs, such as Medicaid that foster youth depend on to make a healthy transition into adulthood.
May is National Foster Care Month. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting the Foster Children Opportunity Act.