In today's turbulent political climate, more immigrants than ever are finding themselves in need of a family lawyer -- the undocumented parents of children with United State's citizenship need help with contingency plans in case the family is separated. If this could potentially happen to you, this is what you need to know.
Keeping the family together may not be the wisest choice.
If you are undocumented, the reality is that you could easily face deportation. Ideally, you could take your U.S. born children with you, back to your home country and keep your family intact -- but that's not always possible or even the best option for your children.
Older children may have trouble adjusting to the change in cultures, may not be as fluent in the language of your home country as they need to be, or could just be targeted for abuse for being too "Americanized". You may also not want them to lose the chance at a solid education in the U.S. and the opportunities that could bring.
Even younger children may be refused services, denied an education or health care, and face other discriminatory problems if they go with you back to your home country -- there, they will be the foreigners -- American children on alien soil who aren't entitled to any government benefits from your homeland.
You may have several other options to consider.
In some areas, local communities are banding together to offer clinics that will match parents and children up with willing volunteers who will take guardianship and power-of-attorney over the children of suddenly detained and deported parents. If you don't have anyone else who can do the job, these community groups can provide a lifeline.
If you do have someone in your life you doesn't have to fear deportation and is willing to accept the responsibility, you can get a family lawyer to help you arrange the appropriate documents. Some things to consider include
- a "leaping" power-of-attorney that goes into effect as soon as you are detained by immigration or deported.
- guardianship papers that will entitle the person you name to take custody of the children in your absence.
- a complete record of your children's personal documents, including critical things like a certified birth certificate, Social Security card, shot record, and school records.
- contact information for your children's relatives both in the U.S. and in your home country -- that way the guardian knows where to start looking for information so that your children can connect with you.
- a financial power of attorney that will allow the person you named as a guardian to handle your affairs, including closing your bank account, ending rental agreements, and taking care of other business you may not have the ability to handle if you're suddenly detained and deported.
While none of these things are pleasant to think about, they're important considerations for any undocumented immigrant these days if there are U.S. born children involved -- otherwise your family may be separated, your children put into foster care, and you could end up having a much harder time finding each other again.
If you need more information, talk to an attorney today. For additional information, you will want to contact a company such as Caldwell Kennedy & Porter.