If you are an undocumented parent of a minor who is a U.S. citizen, you may have wondered what would happen to your child if you get deported. This scenario can be overwhelming to think about, and may cause parents a great deal of stress. The good news is that there are policies in place that protect parental rights, regardless of their immigration status. One such policy is the Detention and Removal of Alien Parents or Legal Guardians Directive, also called Detained Parents Directive.
The Detained Parents Directive, a policy issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), provides guidance concerning the detention and removal of alien parents and legal guardians of minor children. Under this directive, ICE agents should attempt to accommodate the parent’s efforts to arrange for their children’s care before they contact local child welfare of law enforcement to take temporary custody. So, if you get deported, you have a say in what happens to your children.
Unfortunately, this policy doesn’t protect you from having to make some difficult decisions about your child’s new living arrangement. You will inevitably need to decide whether to take your child with you or leave them in the U.S.
- Children Deport with Parent – It’s not uncommon for children to deport with their parents. Leaving the country is often the best option for very young children or those who want to preserve their family’s unity.
- Children Stay in the U.S. with a Guardian – Many times, children stay in the U.S. Designating a guardian and transferring custody can help families prepare for this scenario. Parents can sign their physical and legal custody rights to a trusted adult, like a family member or close friend. If they get deported, the minor will immediately become the responsibility of the guardian. It’s important to take careful consideration when selecting this person because they will ultimately become the person who makes decisions about your child’s health, education, and overall well-being.
- Children Enter the Foster Care System – If your child doesn’t deport with you, and you don’t designate a guardian for them, they will likely end up in foster care. Depending on the circumstances, this may be the best option.
When a parent gets deported, children often suffer the most. This is true regardless of whether they remain in the U.S. with a caretaker, or leave the county to stay with their parents.
Contact Our Immigration Lawyers Before an Event Occurs
To reduce the potential burden placed on children, we encourage parents who are at risk for deportation to create a plan that will come into effect if they get deported. This may involve creating a living will, designating a power of attorney, documenting a health care directive, or appointing a guardian for your child.
With careful thought and consideration, parents can make an arrangement that will ensure their children will be taken care of if they are forced to leave the country. Contact the immigration attorneys at The Gambacorta Law Office at 847-443-9303 to get started.