As the new administration takes an aggressive approach against undocumented immigrants, you may be concerned with what may happen to your children in the event you are arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or deported from the U.S. What you might consider is having a family preparedness plan to handle such a situation. There are three components:
- Making a child care plan so that a trusted adult can care for your children.
- Finding out about your immigration options.
- And knowing your rights when you are confronted by ICE or the police.
Child Care Plan
You can choose someone to care for your children with a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit. This is a form that allows a caregiver to enroll your children into school and to authorize medical treatment for your children. How it works is that you fill out, sign, and date the form and then provide it to your children’s school and healthcare providers. The Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit does not take away your rights as a parent – you still have legal custody over your children.
Another option is to designate a caregiver with a power of attorney. A power of attorney can do much more than a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit. Not only can an agent be designated to care for and make decisions for your children, but also to oversee your financial affairs while you are unavailable. A power of attorney does not take away your rights as a parent. You will still have legal custody over your children.
You will also want to talk to your children about your plan and to let them know that someone will be there to care for them if anything were to happen to you.
Further, you should make sure your designated caregiver is listed as an emergency contact. Be sure to write down any medical conditions or allergies your children have, their medications, and doctor and health insurance information. This information should be provided to your children’s designated caregiver. Let your children know where to find this information as well.
There are many immigration advocacy groups and nonprofit legal services that offer workshops, information sessions, and handouts on dealing with the elevated risk of arrest and deportation. Here is a list of nearby organizations.