It’s every parent’s nightmare: if you are gone, what would happen to your children? For months, as undocumented migrants in the U.S. have been dreading a wave of new raids at their homes and workplaces, one of their greatest fears is not knowing what it will mean for their daughters and sons.
The truth is grim: If a parent is deported, they will not probably not be allowed to take their children with them, or be given time to make arrangements for them. It’s critical that any parent at risk of being detained should make plans in advance to care for their children.
That’s why Appleseed is stepping up to help immigrant families prepare for the worst. Last week, the government of Mexico asked Mexico Appleseed to call on Appleseed’s network power to arrange trainings for staff at Mexican consulates across the United States. The topic? How to help Mexican parents prepare to protect their families in the face of potential arrest and deportation.
Appleseed turned to a long-time ally, Ballard Spahr, which assigned partner Shannon D. Farmer to the task. And the briefings are already underway.
The seminar showed consulate staff how to teach immigrants about the importance of gathering birth certificates and empowering potential caregivers in advance, and arranging for a caretaker to pick up a child immediately if something happens.
Thanks to the training, consulate staff will be better able to explain to immigrant parents how power of attorney, custody orders and child welfare systems work. They’ll urge parents to work with attorneys and caseworkers, to stay involved in their hearings involving their child.
These terrific trainings are just part of a broader Appleseed project to update its 2011 “Deportation Manual” offering guidance to immigrants and those who work with them on how to help families prepare for and deal with stepped-up deportation efforts.
Ballard Spahr has fielded three teams to help this effort, focusing on the myriad state laws affecting public schools and parental interaction around deportation, custody rights, and protecting the assets of minors. Another firm, Cooley LLP, is helping us to update sections on personal and business finance, including selling a car, home or business, residential leases and credit card debt.
For more than two decades, Appleseed has been working has been doing unique work to secure justice and opportunity for refugees and other immigrants. Last week, we submitted information to the Department of Homeland Security on immigrants affected by the recent travel ban, which Appleseed protested in a strong statement shortly after it was signed.