Our Nashville immigration attorneys explain the ways in which deportation impacts child custody and how to protect your parental rights.
If you enter the U.S. without the proper documentation or allow immigration documents to lapse or expire, you may face the threat of deportation. This can create a lot of stress, particularly if you are a parent. Deportation proceedings can potentially impact your rights to child custody. Our Nashville immigration attorney explains more about this problem and how to protect yourself and your family.
Children of Undocumented Immigrants at Risk
According to a December 2022 Forbes report, immigrants currently represent roughly 15% of the U.S. population. Many immigrants are undocumented due to complex immigration policies and procedures and situations in which a visa, green card, or other immigration documents are unavailable or eventually lapse or expire.
This can take a heavy toll in terms of stress, uncertainty, and the ability to provide for yourself and your family. It is particularly troubling when there are children involved. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 5.5 million children live with at least one undocumented parent. Among the risks these children face include the following:
- Economic instability;
- Lack of medical care;
- Lack of educational opportunities;
- Immigration raids in their communities;
- The sudden disappearance of their parents;
- Being forcibly taken and separated from their families;
- Loss of parental custody, which could result in being placed in foster care or group detention centers.
Protecting the Rights of Undocumented Parents
Undocumented parents who eventually are deported may in some cases face the loss of child custody and the potential termination of their parenting rights. But the right to parent is a fundamental constitutional right in the United States, and there may be options to preserve parental rights if a person is deported while leaving their child behind in the United States. If you are currently living in the U.S. and do not have a visa or permanent residency card, it is important to be aware of your options and how to protect yourself and your child in this situation. These include:
- Exploring options that allow you to change your undocumented status, such as obtaining a visa based on employment, family, or humanitarian grounds, such as being a victim of a crime;
- Taking action to renew any visas you hold before expiration;
- Obtaining a permanent residency card based on your relationship with your spouse, your U.S.-born child, or other family members;
- Obtaining Special Immigrant Juvenile Status for your child through the S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which can protect them from deportation;
- Making sure you continue to support your children if they are staying in the United States;
- Making provisions for children to stay with other family members in the event you are detained, which can prevent them from going into foster care or a group detention center.
Contact Our Nashville Immigration Attorneys Today
As a parent, protecting your children is a top priority. This can pose serious challenges if you are an undocumented immigrant or otherwise have problems with your immigration status. To protect your children and your parental rights in this situation, it is important to reach out to Ozment Law, PLC, right away. We frequently work closely with attorneys working in the field of family law in order to maximize our immigrant clients’ rights. Call or contact our Nashville immigration attorneys online and request a confidential consultation today.