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Immigrants fearing deportation assigning caretakers for children

Throughout California and the rest of the United States, workshops run by volunteer law students and attorneys have been helping people prepare for the possibility of deportation. For most of these immigrants, their paramount concern is filling out forms that designate trusted friends or relatives as caretakers for their children.

Typically, the children have the right to remain in the country because they were born here. However, they might experience an abrupt separation if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sends their parents back to their countries of origin. Sometimes, the parents make arrangements for someone to have temporary custody until the children can rejoin the parents. In other situations, parents want their U.S.-born children to live here permanently. One woman from Guatemala said that gang violence and lack of opportunity in her home country made it too dangerous for her child.

Some immigrants are also preparing instructions about how to keep up on house, car or utility payments in the event that the owner is deported. According to the Migration Policy Institute, roughly 30 percent of unauthorized immigrants own a home in the United States. Legal experts recommend that undocumented people provide their documented family members with access to their bank accounts or other assets.

Someone in need of information about child custody matters or granting a power of attorney could consult a lawyer. The legal professional could provide advice about sharing custody, naming a guardian, granting the ability to make medical decisions for a minor or transferring ownership. An attorney could write the documents that specify a client's wishes and make sure the necessary people have access to financial accounts.

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