50-state resource aims to help parents prepare for possible deportation

Posted on 12. Aug, 2017 by in Immigration, Toolkits

CLINIC has released a new web-based resource to help guide immigrant parents and their representatives as they put legal protections in place for families in case parents are detained or deported.

Emergency Planning for Immigrant Families: A 50-State Resource, includes links to state-specific documents on guardianship, conservatorship and powers of attorney. Each state page also lists contact information for embassies or consulates for Mexico and Central American nations, as well as links to state bar associations. Some states provide handbooks or other assistance on related topics, which are linked.

“The president’s executive orders on immigration enforcement effectively put all non-citizens in the U.S, particularly those who are undocumented at risk of detention and deportation, at risk of having their families suddenly torn apart,” said Jill Marie Bussey, CLINIC’s director of advocacy.

“Parents need to assess their risk and plan in advance,” Bussey added. “They need to decide who will take care of their children, which may require naming a temporary guardian or completing a power of attorney. They also need to plan for future reunification abroad, which would require children to have proper identity and travel documents.”

Earlier this year, CLINIC released Know Your Rights materials that advise families to plan now for potential enforcement actions by immigration authorities. The new resource supplements that with key information for at-risk families as they make plans.

The resource is designed for use by legal service providers and the public. Immigration attorneys do not necessarily have expertise in the areas of law applicable to guardianship and related matters. The material can help guide non-experts to solid, qualified assistance.

“This area of law is extremely difficult,” said Lisa Parisio, CLINIC’s advocacy attorney for policy and outreach. “From the perspective of an immigration attorney or advocate, we’re not dealing in immigration law. These topics fall under family law or even estate planning.”

“On top of that,” Parisio said, “the laws, legal forms, and procedures—for naming a temporary guardian, for example—are different in each state. And those state-specific laws, forms, and procedures do not necessarily contemplate or cleanly apply to a scenario where a parent needs to name a guardian for a child because they’re at risk of being detained by ICE.”

“We strongly recommend parents contact their consulates well before any enforcement happens,” said Bussey. “This resource provides contact information for consulates and state bar associations. They are in the best position to provide referrals to attorneys in good standing who have the necessary expertise. They may also help connect people in need with accessing legal services.”

“Every parent finds it daunting to face the prospect of being forcibly separated from their children, especially to another country,” said Jeanne Atkinson, CLINIC’s executive director. “Our goal is that this resource will help families easily locate the help they need to put a plan and legal protections in place. We hope that may give them some peace of mind if the worst happens. In the meantime, CLINIC will continue to fight inhumane enforcement policies that needlessly rip families apart.”

Access the resource now

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