In Case ICE Comes, Immigrant Parents Need Plan for Children

With President Donald J. Trump enforcing U.S. immigration policies much more aggressively, the media is buzzing with stories of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) actions—and stories of immigrants being detained while their children are in school, suddenly removing any sense of safety and stability for the family.

The increased possibility that parents will be detained and deported has heightened the need for families across the country to plan ahead by creating emergency plans for the care and custody of children, along with legal documents to ensure those plans are followed.

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a national nonprofit group at the forefront of promoting and defending immigrant rights, suggests in a paper about parents and schools what could happen if parents don’t plan ahead:

ICE has not been going into schools to arrest children. They have a policy against going into schools in most circumstances. However, ICE has been arresting parents near or outside of schools when those parents pick up or drop off their children. Also, if ICE detains a parent somewhere else, for example at work, ICE will go into a school to make arrangements for that person’s children.

If parents don’t put safeguards in place, including such tools as custodial care agreements and limited power of attorney documents, then the decision-maker for a suddenly parentless child might be ICE.

Also see our post:
With Trump in Office, Immigrants Must Know Their Rights

The Los Angeles Times this month chronicled the trend of fearful parents creating power of attorney agreements that give trusted persons authority to make school, medical and other decisions for children.

National Public Radio (NPR) recently aired a story about schools in Los Angeles beginning to talk to students about what to do if parents are detained by ICE. The piece opened with an account of a father being detained just blocks from a school after dropping off his daughter.

In covering the issue, Slate.com described a Catholic Church in Iowa holding a workshop to counsel parents on steps they should take to establish a safety net for their children in case ICE detains them.

On March 29, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy released a “state toolkit” to provide resources for families concerned about immigration enforcement.

The state document is a good place to start, but families that need help in establishing the best legally enforceable plans for the care of children should consider contacting an attorney.

About Attorney Lisa Rivas

Cramer & Anderson Associate Lisa Rivas focuses on Immigration Law and passionately aids clients in navigating the full range of immigration issues and complexities.

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Attorney Lisa Rivas.

Attorney Rivas won a 2016 New Leaders in the Law award from The Connecticut Law Tribune for her volunteer work aiding immigrants in the Greater Danbury area, and The Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury gave Attorney Rivas its Above and Beyond Award last June for her volunteer work teaching a citizenship course.

Attorney Rivas may be reached by phone in the Danbury office of Cramer & Anderson at 203-744-1234, or by email at lrivas@crameranderson.com.

The firm also has offices in New Milford, Litchfield, Kent and Washington Depot. For more information, see the Cramer & Anderson website or call the New Milford office at 860-355-2631.