In the uncertainty of this day and age, many undocumented parents are afraid for themselves and the specter of deportation, but are also afraid for their children. While children born in the United States are generally citizens, this does not prevent their possible mistreatment in an immigration system that is prone to mistakes and deliberate wrongdoing. If your family is facing this potentially scary scenario, it can be a big help to clarify the information you are receiving.
Uncertainty Can Have Health Impacts
According to a 2015 study on Latinx citizen children, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were statistically significantly higher in children with at least one detained or deported parent. The stress of living in fear of deportation has been tied to everything from low birth weights to behavioral problems.
If you are in a position where you fear deportation, you may wish to investigate the possibility of a power of attorney or another way to safeguard your parental rights, but this can be extremely difficult to do given that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Child Protective Services (CPS) are not required to cooperate in terms of informing each other of parents’ whereabouts.
You may, if you have no choice, entertain the option of taking your child or children back to your country. However, if you have been detained, you may have significant trouble asserting your parental rights, especially if you cannot show that you would be able to adequately care for your child in your home country. ICE ignores the fact that many times this is due to the same or similar factors that led to migration in the first place, and thus may retain custody of your children if it declares itself unsatisfied.
Children Can Sponsor Their Parents
If you manage to retain your parental rights, it may benefit you in the future, even if you wind up being deported. Perhaps the most common misconception regarding family status is thinking that simply because one has a U.S. citizen child, he or she is therefore safe from deportation. This is unfortunately not the case, and reliance on this mistake can lead to a total lack of preparedness in the worst-case scenario. It is true that anyone born in the United States or its possessions (such as Puerto Rico or Guam) is considered a U.S. citizen, with rare exceptions. Still, that only means that the child is safe from deportation, not his or her parents.
It is true that a child born in the United States may sponsor his or her parents for permanent residency, but only once that child has reached the age of 18, and only if he or she meets certain eligibility requirements. It is not impossible that someone who was formerly undocumented would be able to receive a green card, but it would require either a waiver (which can be difficult to get) or prosecutorial discretion, which is extremely, extremely rare given the number of petitions filed yearly.
Consult an Immigration Attorney
Being an immigrant or having immigrant parents in the United States in this day and age can be a series of nightmares. However, having knowledgeable representation on your side can make all the difference. The passionate Chicago deportation defense lawyers at Mevorah Law Office LLC will fight for you. Contact our office today to set up a free consultation.
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