Since the crackdown on immigrants living in this country illegally by the Trump administration, we have seen some high-profile coverage of parents being deported to Mexico, leaving behind children who are U.S. citizens. One Arizona woman who was deported in February left behind a husband, who is also undocumented, and two teenage children. A single father was also deported to Mexico, leaving behind three children who are American citizens.
What Happens to Children Whose Parents Are Deported?
If the parents of children who were born in this country are deported, those kids could end up in foster care. In order to prevent that, immigrant rights attorneys and advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union are advising parents to take steps to prevent that if they have no other family members who are in the country legally who can take care of their children. They are recommending that these parents arrange for someone else to have power of attorney or legal guardianship of their children.
Granting legal guardianship of your children to someone else can be a heartbreaking choice to make, even if a parent is facing deportation. Power of attorney letters, which seem to be the more common choice, can give someone the authority to make decisions for a child regarding things like finances, health care and school without giving them full custody.
Caution Is Advised with Power of Attorney Letters
These letters have to be renewed periodically. Attorneys say that they've seen an increase in the number of letters they've been asked to draft. However, they caution that it's important to know to whom you're granting power of attorney privileges. It can be an invitation to fraud and theft if placed in the wrong hands.
One attorney who deals with family law and immigration issues cautions families not to overreact to the loud political rhetoric about deportation. He says that it feeds into the administration's plan to "sow fear." Nonetheless, undocumented parents who want to make arrangements for the custody and well-being of their children should they be required to leave the country are wise to seek experienced legal guidance.
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