One of the most unfortunate and heartbreaking effects of deporting someone from the country is the hardship that person’s removal causes his or her family. This is especially true for a deported individual who is a parent — they can lose parental rights to their own child, forcing their son or daughter into foster care.
It’s a terrible reality that has sparked a reaction to the family immigration debate by both California and federal lawmakers. Earlier this year, the California Senate considered a bill that would spare some children of deported (or “on hold”) individuals from the foster system.
Now the government is stepping in — they introduced a proposal that would alter current law, restricting the ability of state or local governments to terminate parental rights and giving deported parents a greater chance of having a close relative attain legal guardian rights.
Going into foster care can be a confusing move that causes a lot of emotional distress for a young child that has already lost a parent to deportation. Worse still, the deported parent often has the odds stacked against them to retain parental rights. They are unable to attend critical hearings or proceedings, and they are given strict timelines that are nearly impossible for them to meet, given the physical barriers between the parties.
It will be some time until some of these laws take effect. In the meantime, speak to an experienced immigration lawyer to what approach you and your family can either protect your parental rights or to ensure the safe transfer of your child to a legal guardian.
Source: Multi-American, “New federal bill aims to keep children of deportees with family,” Leslie Berenstein Rojas, July 16, 2012