Undocumented parents are looking to arrange legal guardians for their children as the threat of deportation under the Trump administration looms, Reuters reports.
Raids conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents following a Trump executive order in January targeting undocumented immigrants have people across the country worried about their futures–and being separated from their families. In one case, an Arizona mother of two was deported after a routine check-in with immigration officials. In Los Angeles, a father was arrested after dropping off his daughter at school.
"My dad dropped off my first sister and then when he turned around, they turned on their light,” Jocelyn Avelica-Gonzalez’s, the man's 19-year-old daughter, told LAist. “My dad was really scared. He didn’t want to pull over, but he did. As soon as he did, one car went in front of his truck and one in back of his truck. They took him out and they arrested him. My little sister was still in the car, she’s 13. My mom was also there.”
According to Reuters, parents are increasingly asking advocates to help them arrange legal guardianships as a safety measure in case they're unexpectedly deported. One organization, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, told the news agency they're receiving 10 such requests per day, compared to roughly two requests per month last year.
"Their biggest fear is that their kids will end up in foster care," New Jersey immigration attorney Helen Ramirez told Reuters.
ICE "accommodates, to the extent practicable" parents' efforts to make plans for their children if they're being deported, an ICE spokesperson told Reuters, which could mean access to a lawyer, immigration official, and relatives to make arrangements.
According to research from the PEW Research Center, some 4.5 million children under the age of 18 who were born in the U.S. lived with at least one undocumented parent as of 2012.