In January we posted about the ICE directive regarding the parental rights of those involved with immigration enforcement actions. Our previous post is HERE.
In order to help parents who are separated from their children due to immigration detention the Women's Refugee Commission has released a groundbreaking new publication: Detained or Deported: What About My Children? What To Do If You Can't Be With Them.
This toolkit is designed to help immigrant parents keep their families together. It is the first-ever comprehensive, nationwide resource to help families who are caught between the immigration and child welfare systems.
The toolkit will also be a valuable resource for attorneys, advocates, family members and others who work with immigrant families. It provides critical information to ensure that family unity and children's best interests are taken into consideration in immigration, child welfare and family court decisions.
More than 5,100 children are currently in the U.S. foster care system because a parent has been detained or deported. Some parents have even lost their parental rights, and will likely never see their children again.
Detained and deported parents retain the legal right to make decisions about what happens to their children, even if children are temporarily out of their care. However, practically speaking, logistical barriers, a lack of coordination between the immigration and child welfare systems, and a lack of awareness of undocumented parents' rights can make it extremely difficult to put families back together once the immigration and child welfare systems are involved.
Detained or Deported: What about my children? guides parents and those who work with them through the steps they need to take to keep children from entering the child welfare system, locate children in that system, comply with a child welfare case plan, participate in family court and make arrangements for children at the conclusion of a parent's immigration case. It includes information on how to get a lawyer and how to stay in touch with children.
Detained or Deported: What about my children? has been approved by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for placement in all detention facilities that hold adults for more than 72 hours.
You can get a copy of the toolkit on the website of the Women's Refugee Commission or download an Interactive Version or a Print Version.