Help immigrants protect their families with CLINIC’s emergency planning guide

Last Updated

August 28, 2017

Deportations under the Trump administration are picking up speed, especially among those who do not have a criminal record. More than ever, parents of U.S. citizen children are overwhelmed with concerns, like who will take care of their children. These uncertain times call for parents and guardians to plan for the possibility of being separated from their children by detention or deportation.

CLINIC’s Emergency Planning for Immigrant Families: A 50-State Resource is available to help legal services providers locate the resources they need to better understand the issues families are facing in order to provide sound guidance. The resource contains: 1) key general emergency planning resources, 2) know your rights resources, 3) state-specific bar association contact information, 4) state-specific consulate contact information, and 5) state-specific resources regarding guardianship and powers of attorney.

Immigration legal services providers face a number of challenges in meeting these urgent needs. First, naming a guardian or executing a financial plan for the possibility of deportation doesn’t fall under immigration law. The applicable laws and processes fall into the realm of family law or even estate planning, and are drastically different in each state. Additionally, there may not be clear or adequate processes for immigrants at risk of deportation. For example, a state may have a process for naming a guardian for a parent who might become incapacitated due to illness or disease, but not for a parent who might be separated from their child through deportation.

CLINIC recommends legal services providers consider the following:

  • At-risk families should reach out to their local consulates. Questions to ask:
    • Does the consulate offer assistance with planning for the possibility of deportation?
    • Who at the consulate can be notified in the event of detention?
    • Is there an advantage of registering with consulate in advance?
    • How can nationals register themselves and their children with the consulate?
  • Parents should ensure that U.S. citizen children have U.S. passports.
  • Parents should check to see if their home country allows their children to have dual citizenship.
  • Parents should speak to attorneys with expertise in family law/guardianship to learn about the steps to name a guardian for children in the state where they reside. In states where this process may involve going to court, parents should also consult with immigration legal services providers about the safest course of action.
  • Parents should put a detailed plan in place. CLINIC’s planning guide may assist.