When you are an undocumented immigrant living in the United States, you may live in constant fear of deportation and wonder what will happen to your family if you are separated. This fear can be increased if you have minor children and you are the only parent they have to take care of them. While you cannot predict when you will be deported, you can come up with a plan to give you more control over what happens to your children if you are deported.
In California, the parents of a minor child can grant another person the power of attorney over that child by completing a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit. This person can be named as the child’s caregiver and be allowed to make legal decisions on behalf of the child. After filing paperwork with a court, the caregiver can enroll the child in school as well as make medical decisions for the child.
This arrangement is not adoption, and the parent does not give up parental rights to the child. If you have someone you trust who is legally in the country and who would be willing to care for your children if you were deported, you should talk to them and decide how they would care for your child.
If you sign a power of attorney or a Caregiver’s Authorization Affidavit granting rights to make decisions for your child to another person, you can cancel it at any time. You also do not have to make the power of attorney immediate, you can have your lawyer write the documents in such a way that it becomes effective if you are deported or if something else happens to you, and you are unable to take care of your children.
You can choose to arrange for your children to join you in your home country once you are deported, but if you want them to remain in the United States, and your children are U.S. citizens or otherwise legally in the country, you may have to make more permanent arrangements for their custody. You can discuss your options with an attorney in order to make the best choice for your family.
Keep in mind that a power of attorney can give the person you grant it to a wide range of authority. You can give the person the right to sell your house, business, and take care of your other financial matters to wrap up your affairs in the United States if you do not anticipate returning after some time. You can also give a different person the power of attorney over your financial matters than the one who will care for your children. You may want to make sure they can work together so that your children have everything they will need in terms of food, clothing, shelter, and other basic needs in your absence.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
For more information on how you can put together a plan to take care of your children in case you are deported, contact our multi-lingual staff to speak to an experienced immigration attorney from Strassburg, Gilmore & Wei, LLP, in Pasadena, California.